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THE FLYING BO'SUN
THE FLYING BOSUN
A MYSTERY OF THE SEA
HENRY HOLT AND COMPANY
THK VK'V yoKK
HiVRT HoiT AMD COMPAyT
TO THE MEMORY OF
WHOSE SYMPATHY MADE
IT POSSIBLE FOR MB
TO OO TO SEA
CHAPTER I PAo>
Off fob the South Seas, with Few Clothes
BUT A Stout Heabt 3
The Stobm — Tattebed and Tobn but Still on
THE Ocean 13
Beecham ^s Pills Abe Wobth a Guinea Though
They Cost but Eighteen Pence . • . • 25
Pebsonalities — Omens and Supebstitions of
Old Chablib 33
The Shabk — ''To Hell with Shabk and Ship" 44
The Tin-Plate Fight — One-Eyed Riley Tbi-
Ih WmcH THE Captain Wounds His Hand • . 61
The Bo 'sun Lights — The Captain's Death . 66
The BBoymoYna r— Swanson Takes the Count • 76
BuBiAL AT Sea — In Which Biley Officiates . 83
Astral Influences — The Crew's Version of
THE Unknown •. .. 91
The Cook's Watch — Materialism Versus As-
Higher Inteluqence — A Visit from Out the
Shadows ......... .. . . 107
Christmas Dat — Our Unwilling Guest the
CHAPTER XV Pius
Crimp and Sailor — The Cook's Marxian Ef-
The Montana Cowboy — A Horse-Marink Ad-
The Fragrant Smell of the Allurinq Palms . 141
Suva Harbor — The Reef and the Lighthouses 146
Introducing Captain Kane, Mrs. Fagan and
Mrs. Fagan's Bar 151
Reminisoences of Old Clipper Days .... 158
Unloading Cargo — Again the Master — Na-
tive Police 163
Shore Leave — The Web-Toed Sailor — The
Missionary Ship 173
CHAPTER XXIII PAoi
Fiji Royalty — LocAii Color — /Visitors to the
A Drive with Captain KIanb — Razorback
Rampant • . 194
Homeward Bounp — The Stowaway .. . . 202
The Mysterious Hindoo . 211
The Htjbrioanb 220
The Masteb Returns 228
The Home Port . . . . > . .... 238
Hardship is a stem master, from whom we
But it is often tme that real men learn
thereby to handle their fellow-men, to love them,
and to make the most of their own manhood. In
no class is this more marked than among those
who have been formed by the training of the
Hundreds have lost their lives there, hundreds
more have been coarsened through ignorance
and because of rough living, but the survivors,
who have used what God gave them of brain
and muscle to the best advantage, are a lot of
men to be trusted mightily.
I am proud to have known such men, and to
have lived the life that made them what they
are, and, above all, proud to have sailed before
the time when steam began to drive the square-
rigger from the seas.
Therefore I have ventured to set before the
public a narrative of my own experience, some-
what condensed, but little changed, even in some
parts that may seem hard to believe, but sailors
are known to be superstitious. Should this
book fall into the hands of other sailors, I think
it will interest them, and landsmen may care for
the truthful record of a day that is almost gone.
THE PLYING BO 'SUN
Off foe the South Seas, With Pew Clothes
BUT A Stout Heart
Her name was the " Wampa/^ graceful to look
at, with her taU and stately masts, rigged with
fore and aft sails. She was known as one of the
fastest schooners sailing to the Southern Seas.
That afternoon in December found her load-
ing lumber in a rather quaint saw-mill town on
the Puget Sound. Her Captain, who was a
Swede, was tall and handsome and had none of
the earmarks of the old salt. He seemed to be
very nervous as he walked up and down the
poop deck. Once he called out, " Olsen, put one
more truck load on, then get your deck lashings
ready. She is down now, she has eight inches
of water on the after deck." With that he
jumped ashore saying, " If I can find a mate we
will sail this evening."
As I stood there viewing her yacht-like lines
and noticing the shark's fin on her bowsprit.
4 THE FLYING BO'SUN
I was satisfied that she was in a class by her-
As he turned to go I said, " Captain, do yon
need a mate? "
" Are you a mate? If yon can get yonr tmnk
and bag on board we will sail within an honr."
" But I have neither bag nor trunk. If you
want me you will have to take me as I stand."
" Have you a sextant? "
" No, but I can borrow one from the tug boat
captain. He never leaves sight of land. I am
sure he will rent it to me for this voyage."
" Very well," said he. *^ Get your sextant, and
we will find some way of getting rubber boots
and oil skins," and off he strolled up to the
Two hours later, with the deck lashings set
up, tug boat alongside, everything ready for our
voyage, our Captain sang out " Let go forward,
starboard your helm. Murphy," — the tug boat
gave a "toot, toot," and we were off for the
By this time I had a chance to size up the
crew. The second mate was a short, thick,
heavy-set Dane, seemingly a good sailor. Our
OFF FOR THE SOUTH SEAS 5
cook was a greasy, dirly-looking Gterman and,
from what few wprds I had with him, showed
that he was a Socialist. The sailors were
Dagoes, Irish, Swedes and Russian Finns.
With the wind freshening as we neared the
open sea, the Captain sang out, " Mr. Mate, loose
and set the foresail and main jib." With the
gaskets off I gave the order to hoist away. I
noticed one very large Swede hardly pulling a
pound. I say "large"; he stood six feet or
more and weighed upwards of two hundred.
" What is your name? ". said I.
He looked me over and said, " Why? "
I said " You must pull some more or you will
never know what your name was."
I decided that now was the time to take care
of this sea lawyer. The foresail was about half
up. I gave the order to make fast.
I said to this big Swede, " Come here, I have
something to say to you."
" If you want me come and get me."
" Very good," and with that I caught him with
a strangle hold and dragged him across the deck.
Then I released him. " Now tell me what your
6 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
He looked amazed and humiliated^ and in a
hoarse voice said, " Swanson.^^
I said, " Swanson, I want yon to work, and
work your share.'^
He said, " You ban good steerman."
Steerman is the Swedish for mate.
"Well then, Swanson, let us get those sails
Just then the Captain came forward saying,
" What in Hell is the matter? Why don't you
get those sails on her? "
"Captain," I replied, pointing to Swanson,
" this man did not quite understand me. Hoist
away on your throat and peak halyards."
Up went the foresail as if by magic, then the
main jib and inner jib, the tug boat gave three
long whistles, signalling "let go your hawser."
I heard the Captain sing out, "Mr. Mate,
up with your mainsail and spanker."
"Aye, aye, sir."
In a few minutes all sail was set.
The Captain gave the course south one-half
west and went down below. I imtnediately took
my departure, and entered it in the log book.
The wind was free, about two points abaft the
OFF FOR THE SOUTH SEAS 7
beam. I put the taff-rail log over the side and
settled down for our trip to the sunny south.
As it was getting late in the evening, I went
forward to talk to the second mate about pick-
ing our watches.
It is always customary for the mate to take
the ship out, and the captain to bring her home.
This meant that I would have eight hours watch
the first night out. The mate has always the
privilege of choosing the first man, and by doing
this the big Swede fell to the second mata
Because I was sure I would have trouble with
him, I tossed him into the starboard watch.
After the watches were set, and the wheel
relieved, I heard the supper bell ring.
As I was hungry I made for the cabin, and
took a seat across from the Captain. Out of
the pantry came the Socialist cook with two
plates of soup.
The Captain was not very talkative, thinking
I was a low-grade mate, since I was minus trunk
and bag. The cook eyed me rather curiously
when I passed up the onion soup. I understood
later that it was only on rare occajsions he ever
gave way to cooking so delicate a dish. Should
8 THE PLYING BO 'SUN
any one be so misguided as to refuse to eat it
they might count the galley their enemy forever.
With supper over I went on deck to relieve the
second mate. He looked to me as if there would
be no trouble between him and the cook and
onion soup. As it was now my watch from
eight to twelve, I had the side lights lit and my
watch came on deck to relieve the wheel and
I may mention here some of the sailors in my
watch. Well, Broken-Nose Pete took his turn
at the wheel, and One-Eyed Kiley took the look-
out. Then there was Dago Joe and a Dane by
the name of Nelson, who seemed rather quiet
and unassuming. Also Charlie who was forever
looking up at the clouds.
The wind was freshening up and she was list-
ing over with the lee rail in the water. I went
aft to take a look at the log. She was doing
ten knots and doing it easy. "Well,^' thought
I, "if she can do ten with lower sails and top-
sails, she will do twelve with the fisherman's
staysails on.'^ So I gave the order to bend and
hoist away and no sooner were they set and
sheets flattened aft than she began to feel them.
OFF FOR THE SOUTH SEAS 9
It seemed that those staysails were all that were
holding her back to show me she was worthy of
the shark's fin on the flying jib boom. The Cap-
tain was walking up and down the poop deck
smoking a cigar^ seemingly in good humor with
his new mate. As I was going aft^ I noticed that
she had broached to somewhat. She seemed to
want to shake herself clear of all her canvas. I
ran to the man at the wheel : " What in Hell is
the matter with you? Cad't you steer? " I cried.
*^ Yes, sir, I can steer very well, but since you
put those staysails on her I can hardly hold her
in the water."
" Keep her on her course,'^ I warned him, " op
you will hear from me." I went to the rail to
look at the log. It was getting dark, and I had
to strike a match to see. Sure enough, she was
making twelve and a quarter.
Just then the Captain came up and told me
to take in the staysails, as she was laboring too
much. I was going to protest, but, on second
thoughts, I bowed to the ways of deep-water
captains : " Obey orders, if you break owners."
" Captain, you have a pretty smart little ship
10 THE PLYING BO 'SUN
"Yes/' said he. "She passed everything on
her last trip to Mayhew, New Caledonia, but one
has got to know and understand her to get the
best out of her/'
Bight here I knew he was giving me a dig for
daring to set the staysails without his orders.
Tossing the butt of his cigar overboard, he
started to go below saying " Call me if the wind
freshens up or changes. But call me at eight,
The night grew brighter. A half moon was
trying to fight her way out from behind a cloud,
ever-hopeful of throwing her silver rays on the
good ship "Wampa." With the sound of the
wash on the prow, and the easy balanced roll,
with occasional spray from windward, I felt that
after all the sea was the place for me.
Just then the lookout shouted, " Light on the
starboard bow, sir."
I said, " All right," and reached for the binoc-
ulars. A full rigged ship was approaching on
the port tack.
" Port your helm, let her come to." When we
had her on the lee, I sang out, " Steady as she
OFF FOE THE SOUTH SEAS 11
As we passed under her quarter, what a beau-
tiful living thing she seemed in the shadows of
the night,— and in my dreaming I was near for-
getting to keep our ship on her course again.
By this time hunger, that familiar genius of
those who walk the decks, was upon me again.
Nothing tastes better than the time-honored
lunch late during the watches at night. I found
for myself some cold meat, bread and butter,
and coffee in the pantry.
I called the second mate as it was nearing
eight bells, twelve o'clock. I felt tired and
sleepy and knew that nothing short of a hurri-
cane would awake me from twelve to four.
Up on deck Dago Joe struck eight bells, I took
the distance run on the log, and was turning
around to go down and call the Captain, when
Bwanson came aft to relieve the wheel. He
looked me over very critically and muttered
something to himself. As I went down the com-
panion way to report to the Old Man, I saw the
Socialist cook standing in my room.
"Here, Mr. Mate, is a blanket for you. I
know you have no bedding."
I thanked him and thought, " Well, the Social-
12 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
ist cook is kind and obRervant and Socialism is
not bad after all.''
I called the Captain^ then went to my room for
a well-earned sleep.
The Storm : Tattered and Torn But Still On
Olsen, the second mate, called me at four
o'clock. When I came on deck the sky was
overcast, and looked like rain. Prom the log I
found that she had m^de thirty-eight miles dur-
ing the middle watch.
" If she keeps this up for forty-eight hours," I
thought, " we shall be abreast of San Francisco."
She could not travel fast enough for me, going
South, for with only one suit of clothes and a
Socialist blanket, latitude 46° north in December
was no place for me.
The cook came aft with a mug of coffee that
had the kick of an army mule. It is seldom the
cook on a wind-jammer ever washes the coffee
pot. Pity the sailor, forward or aft, who would
criticize the cooking! One must always flatter
the pea-soup, and the salt-horse, and particularly
the bread-pudding, if one expects any considera-
14 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
The Captain stuck his head out of the com-
panion-way, and from his expression I knew that
he was minus the mocha. " How is the wind ? ''
^^ It has hauled a little aft, sir, about north-
" Get the staysails on and steer south,'^ and he
dived below, looking for the cook, I suppose.
I went forward to see if any sails needed
sweating up. I called Broken-Nosed Pete and
Biley to take a pull on the main boom topinlif t
" Pete, what happened to your nose? "
" It is a long yarn," said he, " and some night
in the tropics I shall spin it."
It was now breaking day. The cook was com-
ing forward to the galley, singing " Shall we
always work for wages? " Behind him strolled
Toby, the big black cat, who seemed very much
in command of the ship. Seven bells, and break-
fast, some of the same beefsteak, with the elastic-
ity of a sling-shot, and other trimmings.
The Captain seemed more talkative. " I under-
stand that we are bound for Suva, Fiji Islands,"
^^ Yes, and I expect to make it in about fifty
THE STOEM 15
days, for with this breeze and a smooth sea, we
shall be with the flying-fish before long."
'* That will be very convenient for me, Sir."
("No, no more coflfee, thank you. Steward.")
(" Steward " is more appropriate than " Cook,"
and gives him a dignity befitting his position in
the presence of oflSicers, while forward he is
pleased to be called " Doctor." But that title is
seldom used, as it depends upon the good-nature
of the crew. )
" Warm sailing will indeed be convenient for
you," said the Captain. " How did you lose your
clothes? Shipwrecked? Here, Steward, take
away this Bourbon brand," (handing him the
condensed milk). "I see the flies have found
" No, sir, not shipwrecked. My last trip, from
Guaymas, was full of incidents, especially in the
Gulf of California. It took us six days, with
light, baffling winds and thunder-storms, to make
Cape St. Lucas. While we were rounding the
Cape, lightning struck the mizzen-top, destroy-
ing the mutton-leg spanker and setting fire to the
chafing gear. Luckily for us, the sails were
damp. ^ As it was the lightning ran forward on
16 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
the tryatic stay, and broke our forestay at the
" Steward," interrupted the Captain anxiously,
"don't feed Toby too much. That old lime-
juicer that was lying next to us at the loading
dock was alive with rats, and I am afraid that
we have our share. You say," turning to me,
" that the forestay was carried away? "
"Yes, sir, and that was not all. When she
pitched aft, the spring-stays buckled, and
snapped our topmast clean out of her. We let
all the halyards go by the run. I have been
going to sea for many years, but never have I
seen a mess like the old * Eoanoke.' With the
topmast hanging in the cross-trees, sails, booms
and gaffs swinging all over the deck, she looked
as if she had been through a hurricane. But
after cutting away the topmast rigging, and let-
ting the topmast go by the run (watching the
roll, of course, so that they would be sure to
clear the bulwark rail), we got a ten-inch haw-
ser from the lazarette to replace the one that had
been carried away. With the deck cleared, and
lower sails set, she was able to lay her course
THE STORM 17
again^ and after thirty-two days we crippled into
" While lying in Bellingham^ our port of dis-
charge, I was relating my experience to a few
old salts^ men with whom I had sailed in other
seas. There happened to be a land-lubber who
questioned my story. He called me a liar. I
said, *You beat it.' He reached for his hip
pocket. Instantly I swung for his jaw. He
went down and I walked away. Later I met the
night policeman. *You had better get across
the line till this blows over/ he said. *The
doctor says that he has a broken jaw.'
" In Vancouver shipping was light, so I took a
job in a logging-camp running an old ship's
donkey-engine hauling logs. Wells, the logging
company went broke, and I with them, and that
is my reason for not having any clothes."
"What became of the man with the broken
jaw?" asked the Captain.
"I heard that he bought a gas motor cycle;
they were new in the East then. He had one
shipped to Bellingham, and ran it without a
muffler. It made such a noise that horses ran
18 THE PLYING BO 'SUN
away, and chickens flew about, and eventually
the townspeople ran him out of town."
It was now past eight bells, and from the angry
sound of Olsen's feet on the deck above, I knew
that he could take care of what steak was left.
^' Well," said the Captain, " that reminds me
of an experience I once had on the * Glory of the
Seas,' off Kiver Plate. Not an electrical storm,
but worse, a squall without warning. You have
to relieve Olsen now, so I will finish some other
time in your watch below."
The cook was in the pantry, humming his fav-
orite song, omitting the words.
It was my watch below, but I remained long
enough on deck for Olsen to finish his breakfast.
Away towards the eastward the sky was blood
red, and the northwest wind was dying out. If
the old sailor's adage holds good, then "A red
sky in the morning, sailors take warning." I
had b^en familiar with those signs in the North-
em Pacific for years. In the winter time it
usually meant a gale. When Olsen returned, I
laid out the work to be done during the fore-
noon. "Get together your reef -earrings, have
your halyards coiled down ready for running," I
THE STOBM 19
said. "We may have a blow before long."
" Yaw," said the Dane, " I don't like the sky to
In the cabin, the Captain was sorting over
some old letters. " Here," said he, " is a picture
of my two boys. They are living in Berkeley.
Their mother died two years ago while I was in
South America. The doctor said it was T. B."
With tears in his eyes he said, " I suppose it had
to be, but don't you know, they are quite happy.
They are living with their aunt. Oh, children
forget so soon, so soon." Picking up the pic-
tures, and with a look of hatred in his eyes he
said, " The sea is no place for a married man."
At seven bells I came on deck to take the meri-
dian altitude of the sun. It was now partly
cloudy, and hard to get a clear horizon, as the
sun would dive in and out from behind the clouds.
What Uttle wind there was came from the south-
" I guess we shall have to rely on your dead
reckoning," said the Captain, " the barometer is
dropping, and it looks as if we are in for a
At four o'clock in the afternoon it commenced
20 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
to blow from the southeast. We took in stay-
sails, topsails and flying-jib. She was close-
hauled and headed southwest. In the first dog-
watch the wind increased.
" Call all hands," said the Captain, " we must
reef her down."
The spanker-boom projected over the stem
about twenty feet. It was no easy matter reef-
ing this sail, with the wind and sea increasing
and her shipping an occasional sea. There was
some danger of one's being washed overboard and
very little chance of saving a life. But now was
the time to find out if our sailors were from the
old school. I loved the storms, and the wild rag-
ing seas and angry skies, — no sea gull ever
enjoyed the tempest more than I.
" Here you, Johnson, Nelson and Swanson, lay
out on the boom, haul out and pass your reef-
earring, and be quick about it."
Swanson said: "TU not go out there. The
foot-rope is too short."
" By God, you'll go out there if I have to haul
you with a handy billy."
"Yes, damn you, get out there," roared the
Captain. "You call yourself a sailor; it is a
THE STORM 21
beachcomber you are!^' The Captain worked
himself into a rage. " By Heavens, we will make
sailors of you before this trip is over."
Swanson with a look of rage, decided that an
alternative of the boom-end with an occasional
dip into the raging sea underneath and elevation
on high as she rolled, was much preferable to
what he could expect should he refuse to obey
orders. With the spanker and mainsail close-
reefed we were pretty snug.
" If the wind increases it will be necessary to
heave her to; that will do; the watch below,^'
Old Charlie was coiling down ropes. "Mr.
Mate, look out for Swanson, I just heard him say
that this ship is too small for you and him. He
is very disagreeable in the f oc^sle. He and One-
Eyed Kiley came near having a scrap over the
sour beans at noon to-day/*
Three hours later the wind increased to a liv-
ing gale. Before we could let go the halyards it
blew our foresail away.
"My God," cried the Captain, "and brand
new. Just begged my owners for it. Six hun-
dred dollars gone to Hell ! Get the mainsail and
22 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
inner jib oflf liyely. Heave her to under the main
jib." Speaking to. the man at the wheel : " Don't
let her go off, damn you, let her come to, and put
your wheel in ^midships."
Throughout the night the wind kept up, with
the seas battering our deckload, until there was
danger of having it washed overboard. But
about seven o'clock in the morning it abated some.
The old ship had the expression of a wet water-
spaniel coming out of the water before shaking
himself. Defiant as she was to race away from
storm and strife, she was hopelessly crippled by
the mountainous sea that was trying to swallow
her lip in its angry roll.
" Never mind about anything," said the Cap-
tain, " get the damned old spare foresail up any-
way, we will have to patch it and get it onto
her. Olsen, how do the stores and flour look?
Yes, it is aft on the port side."
" The rats have torn two sacks of flour open,
" Great God, have they gotten in there already?
Run and get Toby, and put him down there, I
will attend to the lazarette hatch myself from
THE STORM 23
So saying, he walked to the rail and leyelled
his glass at an approaching ship.
Out of the murky horizon loomed up the TJ.
S. transport " Dix/' with troops bound for
Manila to aid in the capture of Aguinaldo. As
she passed us to windward Old Charlie i-emarked,
" There will be few aboard of her to eat break-
fast this morning, the way she pitches and
It was plain to be seen that the Captain was
in no mood for comedy this particular morning.
With the loss of his new foresail, and rats in the
flour, and worst of all forgetting to wind the
chronometer, a fatal result of his preoccupation
with the storm, he was the picture of a man
doomed to despair, and I, for one, approached
him yery gingerly.
With a look of disdain at Old Charlie, he said,
" To Hell with breakfast ! All you beachcombers
think of is eating. Haul the gaff to windward.
Bend on the old foresail, or we shall be blown
clear across to Japan."
Towards noon the wind let up a little, enough
to carry lower sails. Even with a heavy sea we
were able to make five and one-half knots, but
24 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
were off onr course four points^ aa the wind was
still south southeast.
" Mr. Mate, the Captain wants to see you."
'' All right, Olsen.''
In the cabin the Captain was walking in a
circle. " Damn it all," he cried, " why couldn't
1/ou remind me to wind the chronometer? "
" I did not know that you had one on board,
" Hell and damnation ! Go to sea without a
chronometer ? Who ever heard of such a thing ! "
Swinging his arms wildly over his head, he said,
" Where in blazes did you go to sea? "
" Captain," said I, " I have made a twenty-
thousand mile trip without a chronometer with
old Captain Sigelhorst in the bark " Quickstep,"
not so long ago. We can surely get our position
from a passing ship, and if not, we can make
land, say off San Diego, and easily correct our
position for Greenwich time."
" Well, it is a damned poor business, anyway."
Just then we were interrupted by Olsen, who
reported to the Captain that Swanson was sick
and refused to come on deck.
Bbbgham^s Pills Are Worth a Guinea Though
They Cost but Eighteen Pence
In those days, twenty years ago, sailing schoon-
ers had few men before the mast, and every man
was called upon to do a man's work. If one of
the crew were sick, it usually caused a great deal
of trouble both fore and aft. In bad and stormy
weather it was not uncommon for the old and
seasoned sailor to play sick, provided he could
get away with it- The usual symptom was lame
back, so that the appetite might not be ques-
tioned. When the ship would emerge into fine
weather, marvel of marvels, the sailor would
recover in a moment.
" Sick, is he? '' said the Captain, and pointed
to me, saying : " Go forward and see what the
" I am sure," I replied, " that he will be on
deck before long, sir."
" All I have in the medicine chest is pills, yes,
damn it, pills," and he waved me forward.
26 THE PLYING BO 'SUN
In the forecastle Swanson was lying in his
bnnk with the blankets pulled up over his head,
sound asleep, and beside him, lying on a bench,
was all that remained of a breakfast piece of
hardtack, and a large bone, with teethmarks in
" Well," thought I, " if he is getting as close
to the bone as this, he can't be very sick." I
awoke him, saying: "What is the matter with
you, Swanson? Why aren't you on deck? This
is not your watch below."
He rolled over as if in great agony.
" Mr. Mate, I ban very sick man."
" Where are you sick?"
" I ban sick on this side," pointing to the right
" Stick out your tongue. Yes, indeed, you are
a very sick man. Can't eat, I suppose." He
answered me with a grunt as if in mortal pain.
I went aft and asked the Captain for a few
pills. " Give me five."
" Hell, take ten. How is he?"
" I will have him on deck in a few hours, sir."
After Swanson had swallowed the last pill I
PILLS WORTH A GUINEA 27
said, "You are feeling much easier now, aren't
you? Of course, this treatment will relieve you,
but only temporarily. I am positive that you
have a very bad case of appendicitis."
This seemed to please the Swede very much.
" But," said I, " it is very unfortunate that we
are running into another stOrm, the pitching and
rolling of the ship will be bad for you."
He looked me fair in the eye, saying, " Why? "
" Well, it may be either death or an operation
for you very soon."
" I tank de pain go down," pointing to his hip.
" Yes, Swanson, that is the most pronounced
symptom of all," I said, pathetically. " You lie
still while I go aft and see what kind of cutlery
the Captain has."
" Captain," I asked, when I was once more on
deck, "what kind of pills were those that you
just gave me for Swanson? "
" Beecham's pills, and five is a very large dose.
I have had them by me for years. As a boy I was
introduced to them by the North Sea fishermen,"
he proceeded solemnly. " You know they adver-
tise them on the sails of luggers, smacks and
28 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
sloops, in fact, wherever you look in the North
Sea, Irish Sea or English Channel you can
always see Beecham's Pills go sailing by."
Towards evening the weather broke clear with
the wind hauling towards the northeast and east-
ward, and the prospects looked good for better
weather. About nine o'clock the cook came run-
ning aft, crying, "Mr. Mate, • Swanson is very
sick, and the^^rew think that he is going to die.'^
" What is the matter with him now?'^ said I,
" He has terrible cramps. Bussian-Finn John
and Broken-Nosed Pete have all they can do to
hold him in the bunk."
" You go to the galley, steward, and get a quart
of warm water. You can give it to him while
John and Pete hold him, and I have no doubt
that in this case Eiley will be glad to help. Is
that he groaning? "
" Yes," said the Steward, trembling, " he is in
" Have you given him anything to eat for sup-
" My God, yes, he has gorged himself on corned
beef and cabbage.'^
PILLS WORTH A GUINEA 29
" Well/^ thought I, " he has reason to roll and
" Get that hot water," I continued aloud, " and
be quick about it. If anything happens to him
after this you will be to blame. The idea of feed-
ing corned beef and cabbage to a man with a
high fever ! *' The cook waited to hear no more.
All I could see was the dirty apron flying for the
The Captain, hearing us talking from the
cabin, shouted out, "What is all that noise up
"Nothing much, sir; she is now laying her
course with the wind free." This was hoping to
distract him with weather conditions from ask-
ing whom I dared to talk with on the poop deck.
Discipline must be adhered to on windjammers.
Mates and second mates give their orders in
whispers, ' but never loud enough to awaken His
Majesty the Captain. The mates are held in
high esteem by the crew when they see the Cap-
tain conversing with them, but for one of the
crew to come and carry on a conversation with
an officer when he is aft in his sacred precinct,
the poop deck, is considered a crime, and ranks
30 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
almost next to mutiny. Evidently he thought
that I was giving some orders to the crew, for
he closed the porthole, and did not ask me the
On my way forward to see how the steward
was getting along with his mission, and while
abreast the forerigging, Old Charlie tapped me
on the shoulder and pointed toward the forecastle
saying : " Mr. Mate, Swanson is a very sick man.
He thinks that you have given him poison, sir,
and " — stepping close to me, " I feel that some-
thing is going to happen on this ship."
" What makes you think that? " said I.
Pulling his old hairy cap down around his
ears, and settling down for a long yam, he said :
" In the winter of 187'5 I was in a ship off the
Cape of Good Hope. We lost three sailors over-
board — "
"I am in a hurry, Charlie, you will be too
long — "
" I have had queer dreams lately, sir," he inter-
" Tell me some other time," said I, " I must
see the Swede."
Pown in the forecastle Riley was comforting
PILLS WORTH A GUINEA 31
SwaQson in the uncertain language of the sea^
while the cook held his head, eyeing me, and say-
ing very softly, " I don't think that it is the cab-
" What is it then,'' said I, " I only gave two
grains of quinine to reduce his fever. Stand
back, there, so that I can get a look at him. How
are you now, Swanson?" As I said this, the
words of the advertisement occurred to me,
"Beecham's Pills are worth a guinea, though
they cost but eighteen pence."
There was no bluffing with the Swede. He was
sick in good earnest now. " I think I ban pois-
oned, Mr. Mate."
"No, Swanson, you have not been poisoned.
You must be operated on, and at once."
" Begob, sir," said Riley, with a wink at me,
" and sure it is myself that knows how to carve.
I will be after helping you, sir."
"Thank you, Riley, it is a dirty job, and I
should much prefer that you would do it."
" Let me up," yelled the Swede.
" Hold him down, men," said I. " You know
that he is out of his head from fever, and it would
be dangerous for him to get up until after the
32 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
operation/' It now dawned upon Swanson that
I was in earnest about the operation. For a one-
eyed Irishman and his enemy to cut a hole in him
was more than he could bear. With a wild
plunge that hurled his captors to right and left,
he jumped from his bunk, and raced for his life
up the ladder that led to the deck.
Seven bells in the morning, and with a fine
saUing breeze, we were leaving behind the sleet
and storms for those who sail the northern lati-
" I saw Swanson on deck this morning," said
" Yes, sir, he is better. I don't think that we
shall have any more trouble from him in that
Ombns and Supeestitions of Old Charlib
Four days later a tramp steamer hove in sight.
We signaled him, and asked for his position.
He signaled back, giving latitude and longitude.
He wad about a mile to the eastward of us. We
set and wound our chronometer, and considered
this luck indeed, as the Captain expressed it.
He seemed quite happy, and, with an expression
bf confidence on his face, remarked:
"Well, we are all right again. You know I
was very much worried about forgetting to wind
the chronometer. I have been master for four-
teen years, and this is the first time that I have
n^lected to do it. I have heard from old-timers
that it is considered a bad omen.''
" I don't believe in any such superstitions,"
Here he called to the cook, who was throwing
slop overboard from the galley: "Have you
given Toby any water today? "
34 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
"Yessir," said the cook, and cursed a large
black and white gull for eating more than his
share of the scraps that were floating by. " Toby
wants for nothing, sir. In fact, he has been
getting out of the lazarette lately."
The Captain did not hear this last remark.
He was watching the remains from the galley to
see if there was any waste. Old sailors say they
can tell how ships feed by the number of gulls
who follow in her wake.
(Now follow some extracts from my diary,
kept during a portion of this trip.)
For the last week we have been having fine
weather. The cook and crew seem to be very
friendly. I notice that during the dog-watch
from six to eight they gather around the main-
mast. There the cook has a barrel in which he
freshens salt meat. In this watch he puts it
to soak. This evening he must have been carried
away with his subject, for he was talking loudly
and very excitedly, exclaiming:
" That is it exactly, and here we are. What
are we getting? Nothing. And to think that
we are the slaves of the owners — "
OMENS AND SUPERSTITIONS 35
Some one inteprupted, I believe that it was the
Bnssian-Finn, saying : " I'll bet they," meaning
the owners of our ship, " don't have to eat this
old salt horse three times a day.''
Riley voiced in with : " Begorra, and it's crame
in their tay they are having, and divil a thimble-
ful do we get here/'
This last expression from the Irishman pleased
the cook, who brought his fist down sharply on
the pork-barrel, crying: "And, men, your only
salvation lies in the ballot-box."
The cook's ballot-box amused me. Who ever
heard of a sailor voting? Out of ten of our
crew, we had not one American citizen !
Our position at noon today was 17°. 24 north
latitude, — longitude 142°.10 west. The wind
has been steady from the northeast for the last
forty-eight hours. I am satisfied that this is the
commencement of the trade-winds.
During the middle watch I was very sleepy,
and decided to walk on the deck load as far for-
ward as the mainmast, and back again, and so
on. I noticed one of the crew standing against
the weather main-rigging. As the night was
dark, I could not make him out, and, remember-
36 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
ing Old Charlie warning about the big Swede
haying it in for me, I stepped over to the fife rail
and pulled out a belaying-pin, thinking that it
might come in handy in case this ghost-like figure
started anything. But just then he lit his pipe,
and from the rays of the match I could make
out the features of Old Charlie himself.
" Charlie,'' I said, " you scared me."
"I have been standing here thinking, sir.
Have you noticed the Bo'sun flying low lately,
The ^^ Bo'sun" Old Charlie alluded to is a
tropical bird, snow-white with an exquisite tail,
and flies very fast and usually very high. It is
a common tradition among sailors that this beau-
tiful bird is the embodiment of the souls of
"No, Charlie," said I, "I haven't noticed
Taking a puflf from his old pipe, and button-
ing his overcoat around his neck as if expecting
a squall, then looking around the horizon to make
sure that we would not be interrupted by any
OMENS AND SUPERSTITIONS 37
" Yes, sir, at noon today one came near alight-
ing on the end of the jib-boom.'^
"You must have mistaken it for a sea-gull,"
" No, sir ; it was no sea-gull. I have been sail-
ing the seas for thirty-four years, and I have
seen and heard strange things.'^
" Well, suppose it did light on the jib-boom ; it
has to get a rest sometimes."
"They have their island homes and never
come near a ship, unless," speaking very softly,
" unless some one is going to die."
" Nonsense, Charlie. Surely you don't believe
in such foolishness."
" I started to tell you some time back about
an old ship I was in off the Cape of Good Hope.
Maybe you remember her, she was called ^ The
Mud Puddler,' and Charlie continued with a
grin, "she was never in the mud while I was
" Yes," said I, " I remember her. She sailed
from Liverpool, didn't she?"
"Yes, sir; that's her; four-masted and bark-
rigged. Well, as I was saying, we left Calcutta
38 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
bound for Hamburg. One night, oflf the Cape,
it was my lookout. It was a fine night with a
fresh breeze, and we were Roughing along about
eight knots. I heard two bells go aft, and in
that ship we had to answer all bells on the
" Is it one o'clock so soon? " thought I.
" You know,'' speaking to me, " where the fish-
tackle davit is?"
" I know where it should be," said I.
"Well, that is where I was standing." (A
lookout is very important on all ships, especially
at night, when they see a light or a sail they
report to the officer on watch. ) " As I was in a
hurry to answer the bell, not wanting the mate
to think I was napping, I rushed to ring it, and,
standing there, sir, was a man I had never seen ! "
" It was one of the crew playing a joke on you,"
" Oh, no, Mr. Mate, not at all, not at all. I
knew every man on board of her, sir, and this
man was not of this world. He had a pair of
Wellington boots on, you know the kind, all
leather, to just below the knee."
" Yes," said I, " I know the kind."
OMCBNS and superstitions 39
"He also had a sou'wester with a neat-fit-
ting peajacket. And, sir, it was his face that
frightened me. His eyes were fiery, his
beard was dark and thick, with heavy, bushy
All this time I was getting very much inter-
ested in Old Charlie's story. "What did you
do? What did you say to him? " I asked, very
" I reached in front of him to answer the bell.
He spoke very mournfully, saying : ^ You shall
have a visit from the Bo'sun tomorrow ; ' and he
instantly disappeared and left me with my hand
still stretched out for the bell-rope." . . .
I could smell the smoke from a cigar, and
knew that the Captain was pacing the poop. I
walked aft slowly, anxious to hear what hap-
pened on the bark "Mud Puddler." Sure
enough, there was the Captain, walking up and
down, and occasionally glancing at the compass.
Evidently the ship was off her course when he
came up from the cabin. He spoke to me rather
harshly, saying : " Don't let these fellows," point-
ing to the man at the wheel, " steer her all over
40 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
"Very well, sir. I was just forward seeing
if the side-lights were burning brightly.**
"Well, keep your eye on them, they are not
to be trusted too long. And by tl^e way, have
the second mate get up the old spare sails in his
morning watch ; we have some roping and patch-
ing to do before we bend them. They are all
right tot this kind of weather. This breeze will
carry us near the Equator."
" Very good, sir. I will have Olsen get them
He took one more look at the compass and
went below. I went to the binnacle more to see
the time than the compass. I was surprised to
see that it was twenty minutes past three. I
was anxious to go forward and have Charlie fin-
ish his story, but, seeing a light in the Captain's
room, I was doomed to finish the watch around
the man at the wheel.
My rather troubled sleep was ended by a rap
at the door. It was the cook. "It has gone
seven bells. Breakfast will be ready in a few
minutes, sir." Dressing was easy for me. In
fact, all it required was washing and putting on
my cap, for in the tropics one has little use
OMENS AND SUPERSTITIONS 41
for clothes, which was indeed fortunate for me.
" Steward/' said I, as I perfected my toilet,
^^ what have you for breakfast this morning? "
He hesitated before answering, and well I knew
what was passing in his mind. ^^ How does he
dare to ask me what I am going to have for
breakfast! I who have befriended him. What
have I for breakfast indeed ! '^
^^ Tongues and sounds," said the Emancipator,
*^ A breakfast fit for a king,'^ I replied cheer-
The word " king '^ was a red flag to a bull to
him. The presence of the Captain coming down
the companion-way was all that saved me from
the fate of all reigning monarchs.
Tongues and sounds of the Alaska codfish come
pickled in brine and packed in firkins, and are
sold principally to marine shipping. All that is
required in the process of cooking is to freshen
them overnight, boil and serve with drawn but-
ter. They are an enviable breakfast delicacy on
land and sea.
The cook, although upset by my reference to
kings, lost none of the dignity of serving the
42 THE PLYING BO 'SUN
byproduct of the Alaska cod. The Captain had
little to say during the morning meal, and
seemed worried about something.
On my leaving the table he remarked : " Get
your palm and needle. I want you to work with
me on the spare sails, they are in bad shape.''
The spare sails were indeed much in need of
repair. Where they were not worn threadbare,
they had been chewed by the rats. While we
were sitting side by side sewing, this afternoon,
we talked of many things — ships and shipping,
and foreign ports.
" Do you know," said he, " that trip that took
me to South America Vhen my wife died was
going to be my last trip." He stopped sewing.
« You see, she would never complain of being
sick. Of course, I was away most of the time,
spending about two weeks a year at home with
her and the children. It was while I was home
that trip, that I noticed how poorly she looked,
and that cough, and realized how much she must
have suffered. The doctor told me she might
live for years with proper care and right climatic
conditions. She and I talked it over and decided
that on my return trip I would give up the sea
OMENS AND SUPERSTITIONS 43
for good, and devote my time to her and the
children on a farm in Southern California.
When I returned from Valparaiso and found that
poor Bertha was dead, and the boys living with
their aunt, it was more than I could stand."
With tears streaming from his eyes, uncon-
scious of the vast Pacific, the ship he was in, or
even the crew around him, he munnured softly
"My wife, my wife, — gone, gone." In this
intense moment a ball of sewing twine rolled
from his knee, and, reaching for it, he said : " Do
you know that sometimes I think she is with
The Shark — ^^ To Hell With Shark and
I was so overcome by the Captain's tears and
his great love for his deceased wife, that I failed
to hear Old Charlie calling me from the wheel
until he attracted my attention by pointing over
" What is wrong? " I asked, thinking that per-
haps the log line had carried away.
" A black fin on the starboard quarter, sir."
"What is that?'^ said the Captain, throwing
the sail aside and walking aft.
" It is a shark, sir," said I, " and a black one."
Instantly all love and human kindliness left
him. Jumping down onto the poop deck and
looking over the rail.
"By Heavens, you are right," he cried, "he
must be twenty feet long. Run to the pork bar-
rel and get a chunk of meat while I get the shark
THE SHARK 45
" Aye, aye, sir." In the excitement it did not
take me long to reach the cook's salt pork barrel,
and grabbing about ten pounds of salt horse I
was aft again in a minute. The Captain was
bending a three-inch rope into a swivel on a
chain. The chain is about six feet from the
hook. When the shark comes down with his six
rows of teeth on each jaw, it takes more than
manila rope to stop him, hence the quarter-inch
The Captain was very much excited. " Here,
damn it. No, he will nibble it ofiE the hook if you
put it there. That is it. The center. Now over
the side with it. Slack away on your line there.
That is enough. Make fast."
'' All fast, sir," said I.
In our excitement of the morning we had for-
gotten to take our observation for latitude. It
was now past eight bells with the cook ringing
the bell for dinner. The black fin was swimming
around the salt horse, and it was easy to decide
" By God, there," pointing astern, " is another
one," said the Captain. " Why in blazes don't
he take the bait?"
46 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
No sooner said than done. The big black fin
turned over on his back and swallowed meat and
hook, then righting himself and feeling grateful
for so small a, morsel, and starting to swim away,
he found that he was fast to the end of a rope.
No one realized it more than the Captain.
With a shout that could be heard all over the
schooner : " Lay aft, all hands," he cried, " and
lend a hand to pull in this black cannibal.'^
With all hands aft, including the cook, — his
presence is always needed in emergencies like
this, — " Get that boom tackle from oflE the main
boom,'^ he continued, "and you," pointing to
Olsen, " get a strop from the lazarette and fasten
it up in the mizzen-rigging."
" If I go down there," said Olsen, pointing to
the lazarette hatch, " the cat may get out." '
"To Hell with the cat," said the Captain,
" this is no time to stand on technicalities. Get
the strop and get it up damned lively."
Meantime the cook forgot that he was the hum-
ble dispenser of salt horse and pea soup. He who
had fought the land sharks for years, he who fiad
stood hour after hour in the sweltering sun
declaiming against the crimps and other para-
THE SHARK 47
sites of the Barbary coast^ was it not befitting
that he should lead the charge on this black mon-
ster of the deep?
The Ballot-Box Cook, for this is the name I
gave him, was standing abaft the mizzen-rigging,
with unkempt iron-gray hair waving in the wind,
a greasy apron, and bare feet. His large red
nose had never lost any of its cherry color, as
one would expect it to, under the bleaching
influence of long voyages. His large supply of
extract of lemon, with its sixty per cent of
alcohol, is not to be deprecated in these times,
when diluted to a nicety with water and sugar.
On this particular day he had not neglected
his midday tonic. Tucking his dirty apron into
the belt that supported his overalls, and jump-
ing down from the deckload to the poop deck, he
exclaimed with the wildest gestures :
" Holy Moses, men, don't let him get away/^
From the way that the shark was thrashing
and beating the water, one would think that the
three-inch rope would part from the strain at
" Stop the ship ! " cried the cook.
" Stop hell," retorted the Captain.
48 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
" You will never land him/' insisted the cook ;
" she has too much bloody way on her."
" I'll attend to this ship ; I am master here,"
said the Captain angrily.
" Master, you are? " here discipline between
master and cook was fused away into the north-
east trades. The cook, coming to attention with
all the dignity of a newly-made corporal, said:
" Captain, I'll have you understand that I have
no masters, and " — shaking his fist at the Cap-
tain, and slapping himself on the breast, " do
you think that I have always been a sea-cook? "
Under other conditions the Captain would have
had him put in irons, but there was now too
much at stake for him to even think of such a
thing. For is not time the essence of all things?
With this demon of the sea dangling on the end
of a sixty-foot line, every minute seemed a cen-
tury with the chance that hook, meat and line
might sail away into fathomless depths.
" Get to Hell forward to your galley ! I will
send for you when I need you " — ^Here the cook,
with rage interrupted :
'*To Hell with you, shark and ship! The
American Consul shall hear about this ! " With
THE SHARK 49
this parting shot he slouched forward to the
"Here, damn you, here,'^ continued the Cap-
V tain, forgetting him on the instant. " Here, you,
Nelson, put a sheep-shank in the shark-line —
now hook your block in. .That's the way. Hoist
away on your tackle.'' After giving these orders
he hopped up on the deck-load to direct the course
of the incoming shark. With the crew pulling
all their might, we could not get him in an inch.
"If we wait a little while. Captain," said
Olsen, " he may drown."
" Drown be damned, who ever heard of a shark
drowning? Get a snatch-block, hook it into the
deck-lashing, take a line forward, and heave him
in with the capstan."
Leaving the second mate with the crew to heave
in the shark, I walked aft to join the Captain.
While passing the galley I could hear the cook
singing, "Marchons, marchons," — I knew it
would be dangerous to interrupt him.
After heaving about twenty minutes the shark
was alongside with the head about three feet out
" Belay ! " roared the Captain, " come aft, here.
50 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
a couple of you. Slip a running bowline over
his head, we must not lose him. That is the
way. Take a turn around the mast. All right
aft. Heave away on your capstan."
As the enemy of every sailor who sails the seas
came alongside, with him came the strains of
the old capstan chantey :
*' Sally Brown, I love your daughter,
Heave, ho, roll and go,
For seven long years I courted Sally,
I spent my money on Sally Brown.''
Before the second verse of the aged Sally was
finished, Black Fin was ours to do and dare.
"Make fast forward," shouted the Captain,
" and bring your capstan bars aft. One of you
get the crowbar from the donkey-room."
If there is anything in this world that a sailor
loves, it is to kill a shark. We secured him
safely on the deckload, for they are not to be
trusted out of water, especially if one gets too
near to the head or tail. This monster measured
seventeen feet, six inches. With capstan bars,
crowbar and sharp knives it didn't take long to
tf^ke the fight out of hini,
THE SHARK . 51
After being cut up, the choice parts were given
to members of the crew, such as the backbone for
a walking-stick, the gall for cleaning shoes and
so forth. The eyeballs, when properly cured in
the sunlight resemble oyster pearls. I took the
most coveted part, the jaw, and when it was
opened, it measured twenty-two inches. The
Captain ordered what was left of him thrown
overboard, and turning to me said, "Have the
steward serve dinner.''
" How about the other shark, sir? "
" Oh, we will leave him until after we eaf
After dinner there was no shark to be seen.
"We have made a sad mistake,'' lamented the
Captain. " We should not have thrown the first
shark overboard. By doing that we have fed
him to the second."
The Tin-Platb Fight — Onb-Eybd Riley
It was my watch below, and only one hour
and a half left to sleep. Taking oflE my cap, I
hopped into the bunk, and was just dozing ofif to
sleep when the Cook opened the door saying:
" Have you anything to read? ^^
"No, I have not,^' I replied, impatiently.
" Well,^^ said he, unheeding, " I wish you would
read this book. It is *The Superman,' by
Nietzsche. I also want you to read Karl Marx,
in three volumes. Then you will understand
why I hate sharks and masters." With the last
remark he slammed the door behind him.
The watch from eight to twelve was wonder-
fully fascinating, and full of romance. A full
moon hung in the clear tropical sky. The waters
rippled, and the Southern Cross glimmered in
the distant horizon. Occasionally a block or
boom squeaked, as if to say, "I, too, lend
enchantment to the night."
THE TIN-PLATE FIGHT 53
At ten-thirty the light went ont in the Cap-
tain's room. I knew that, tired by the excite-
ment of the day, it would not be long before he
would be asleep. With instructions to the wheel-
man to keep her on her course, I went forward
to see Old Charlie, and hear from him what hap-
pened next aboard the bark ^^ Mud Puddler."
" As I was saying last night, there I stood with
my hand stretched out to ring the bell, and, sir,
I could not move a muscle."
" Charlie," said I, " you were just dozing and
dreaming, and thought that you heard the bell
" Not at all, sir, not at all. For the mate came,
forward cursing and swearing and telling me
that if I slept again on watch he would dock me
a month's pay. I have sailed under flags of
many nations, sir, and never have I been caught
dozing at the wheel or on the lookout."
" What about the Flying Bo'sun, did he visit
your ship? "
Old Charlie was too solemn for one to think
lightly of his story.
"Wait, sir, don't go too fast. At breakfast
the next morning I was telling my shipmates
54 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
about the strange man on the foc's^le. In
describing how he looked and the clothes he wore,
one old sailor seemed much interested.
" You say he wore Wellington boots and a pea-
jacket? What color did you say his beard was? '^
" Black and bushy/' said I.
" That's very strange, very strange,'' said the
One member of the crew laughed at the old
man's last remark, and said : " What is strange
about it? One would really believe that you
thought that Charlie :was awake. Ha, ha, the
joke is on you."
Old John, for that was his name, pushed his
hook-pot and plate over on the bench and rising
very slowly to his feet said, " Shipmates, I am
sixty -two years old. I have sailed the seas since
I was fourteen. I want to say that the appari-
tion that Charlie saw last night is not a joke,
but a stem reality, and, shipmates, some one of
us is going on the Long Voyage."
Here Charlie stopped to fill and light his pipe.
" What happened next? " I asked.
^^ Well, sir, in the afternoon watch I was out on
the jib-boom reeving off a new jib downhaul, and.
THE TIN-PLATE FIGHT 55
sir, as true as I stand here, there, almost within
arm's length, sat the Flying Bo'sun. Three days
later we ran into a storm oflE the Cape, — you
know the short, choppy, ugly sea we get off there?
It was during this storm that we lost three men,
and one of them was old Sailor John. So you
see I have reason to believe in coming disaster.
With the Bo'sun waiting to alight, and sharks
following the ship, I tell you that something is
going to happen soon."
As Charlie finished his story, the man at the
wheel struck one bell, a quarter to twelve. It is
always customary to give the crew fifteen min-
utes for dressing, that when eight bells is rung
the watcher may be promptly relieved. I called
the second mate, got a sandwicli, and went on
deck again to take the distance run by the log.
While I was waiting for Olsen to relieve me
Old Chstrlie came running aft. " They are kill-
ing each other in the foc's'le, sir."
" Who is it? " I asked.
" One-Eyed Riley and Swanson, sir."
" Who is getting the best of it? "
" Swanson, sir. He has Riley down, and is
beating him over the head witlra tin plate."
56 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
Looking down into the forecastle I could see
Swanson stretched out with Riley standing over
him^ a marline-spike in his hand; cursing and
" Bad luck to you for a big squarehead. It's
trying to tear me good eye out, you are. Mother
of God, look at me tin plate that he bate me
with, it is all crumbled in. Sure and I can't use
that agin, and divil another this side of San
" Riley," said I, " have you killed this man? "
« Begorra, sir, me intintions was well-meanin\
I broke me spike on him."
" Turn him over," I commanded, " and see if
there is any life in him."
" Now, throw some water on him."
" The divil a drop will I throw on him, sir, but
if you will say the word, I'll pitch him into the
In a few minutes Swanson came to, terribly
bruised about the head, and no more fight in
" Riley," said I, " you beat this man, now you
must bandage him up and take care of him."
"Ah, sure, sir; it's murdher you'd be after
THE TIN-PLATE FIGHT 57
wantin' me to do and it's bandage him up you
want. Heavenly Father, with me new tin plate
all spoiled, what in the divil am I going to ate
oflE of? ''
" Eight bells ! " sang out the man on the look-
out. It was Swanson's lookout watch, and the
" Riley, you will have to keep the Swede's look-
out this watch. He is dazed and stupid from the
beating you gave him. There is danger of him
Swanson crawled over to the bench as if in
terrible pain, muttering : " I will get this Irish
dog, and when I do, look out, I will kill him."
The other members of the watch below were
too busy dressing to pay much attention to the
fight, but one could see that they were proud of
" Ha, ha, an' it's kill me you would, me fine
bucko, an' sure you might if I had no eyes in me
head. You dirty baste. Let me finish him, sir."
" Riley," said I, severely, " get up on deck, and
relieve the man on the lookout, or I will place
you both in irons."
Riley went on duty very reluctantly, saying.
58 THE FLYING BO'SUN
" Begorra, rir, and it's sorry youTl be for not let-
ting me finish him/'
" Bwanson,'' I said, " yon will be all right in
the morning. Yon have a few bad bnmps on
your head, bnt a hard and tough man like you
should not mind that.
I left him grumbling and whining and swear-
ing yengeance, saying to himself : " By Jiminy, I
get even mit dem all.''
On the forecastle head Kiley was pacing up
and down, evidently very happy and pleased with
the night's work. He was humming an old ditty,
and sometimes breaking out singing :
**Blow you winds while sails are spreading,
Carry me cheerily o'er the sea.
I'll go back, de dom, de dido,
To my sweetheart in the old countree."
In the cabin the Captain wad looking through
the nautical almanack to find a star that was
crossing our meridian.
" You know," speaking to me, " we must not
allow sharks nor anything else to interfere with
the progress of the ship. I want to cross the
Equator about in 150° west. I believe that I
THE TIN-PLATE FIGHT 59
shall have to keep her a little to the westward
now. Ah, here I have it, the star Draconis, it
crosses our meridian at 1 hr. 15 min. Just give
me your latitude by dead reckoning."
" Here you are, sir,'' handing him the latitude.
"With this moderate breeze she has made 110
miles since noon today."
" It looks," said he, " as if she were going to
beat her last trip to the Equator. But, of course,
there's the doldrums. One can never tell.
Sometimes a ship will run through and into the
southeast trades, and escape the doldrums. But
that seldom happens to me."
The next few days were spent sewing sails,
the crew rattling her down, cleaning brass-work
and chipping iron rust from the anchor chain.
A ship is like a farm, there is always work to be
done, and a sailor must never be idle. It is the
mate's duty to find work to keep them going.
A mate's ability is usually measured by the
amount of work that he gets out of the crew,
especially when she sails into her home port.
There the owners come aboard, and if they
do not wring their hands, and tear their hair,
and sometimes tramp on their hats or caps, the
60 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
mate is indeed to be complimented. They will
sometimes walk up to you and say :
" Well, you had a fine voyage, I see,'' looking
around at the masts, and yards, and paint- work.
" Do you smoke? Here is a very fine cigar, three
for a dollar." (More often it is three for ten
I remember the old barque " Jinney Thomp-
son." We were three weeks overdue. When
we finally arrived the owner was there on the
dock and fired every man aboard her. It seems
that every day for three weeks he had never failed
to make his appearance at the wharf. On this
day while the tug-boat wds docking us there he
stood, white with rage.
" Get off my ship, you damned pirates, every
man, woman and child of you ! To think that I
should have lost one hundred and fifty dollars
on this trip. Get off, damn you, get off ! "
In Which the Captain Wounds His Hand
" No, sir, he won't stay down there," said the
cook. " He caught a flying-fish the other night ;
it lit on the deck forward. Since then he just
sits in the main rigging watching. When I get
near him he runs up aloft.''
" I must tell the mate," said the Captain, " to
move the flour into the spare room. Those
damned rats will eat us out yet. Why don't you
tie Toby with the stores?"
" I can't, sir, he won't let me near enough."
This conversation was going on in the cabin
while I was trying to read Henry George. I
went to sleep wondering how a single tax could
be applied to city property. I was not asleep
long before I was awakened by loud tapping on
my door. " Come in," said I. The door opened.
There stood the Captain, pale and excited.
" Would you mind tying up this hand for me?
I stuck a marline spike through here," pointing
62 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
to the fleshy part between the thumb and fore-
finger of the right hand.
" Just one minute, sir, I'll get some hot water."
Fortunately there was hot water in the galley.
" There you are, sir, put your hand in the
bucket. No, it is not too hot. There, see, I hold
my hand in it.''
Satisfied that there was no danger of cook-
ing it, he pulled the rag off, and thrust his hand
into the bucket. I noticed that there was no
blood to speak of. I said, "Captain, did the
spike go through your hand? '^
" Hell, yes, man, about three inches."
I suggested many remedies, such as washing
it with saline solution and bandaging with oakum
and so on. But he would have none of them,
and insisted on having the rag tied around,
assuring me that it would be well in a day or so.
He kept on deck most of the first watch, but
was evidently in great pain.
"I think that we are running into the dol-
drums from the look of those clouds to the east-
ward," said he.
" We have one thing in our favor," I replied ;
THE CAPTAIN WOUNDS HIS HAND 63
**we should have a three-knot current to the
southward according to the pilot chart/'
" You should not rely on what those fellows in
Washington put onto paper. If you do you will
never get anywhere."
At five o'clock in the morning it was raining.
There is no place in the world where it rains as
it does around the Equator; it seems as if the
celestial sluice-gates had gotten beyond control.
We were becalmed^ and in the doldrums^ with
not a breath of air. Usually this lasts for five
or six days.
During this time every one on board is very
busy, catching water, filling barrels, washing
clothes, and working ship. The latter work
is hard on the crew, for you are always
trimming ship for every puff of wind that
comes along. Pity the weak-kneed mate in 'the
doldrums. There are times when you tack and
wear, and boxhaul ship every fifteen minutes.
The crew resent this kind of work, and while
doing it they curse and swear, and will do the
opposite to what they are told.
Here is where the old-school mate comes in.
64 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
Obey orders. He sees that they do obey. Lazy
sailors breed discontent, and discipline must be
stern. If a member of the crew happens to be
idle, he must by no means appear to be. He
must at least act very seriously, and look to wind-
ward, as if beckoning for a breeze. There is an
old saying among sailing-ship-men :
**When the wind is fair the money comes in over the
When the wind is ahead the money comes in over the
so a sailor must never show that the unfavorable
weather is making pay for him. He must never
whistle a tune, nor sing a song, but he is priv-
ileged at all times during a calm to whistle as if
he were calling a dog, for if you don't get wind
with the dog-whistling, you are not to blame. I
have seen captains standing for hours whistling
for wind. Pity the man who would smile or
crack a joke on so serious an occasion. One
captain I was with, after whistling off and on all
day without avail, threw three of his hats over-
board, one after the other, crying in rage,
" There, now, damn you, give us a gale."
THE CAPTAIN [WOUNDS HIS HAND 65
The wise mate knows his place in trying times
like these. He never goes aft, thereby avoiding
serious discussions. He always makes it his
business to be very busy in the forepart of the
ship. The worst time for him is meal-time. It
is not uncommon to finish eating without a word
being spoken. The cook is not exempt. Should
the captain count more than ten raisins in the
bread-pudding, look out for a squall ! ^'
At breakfast I ate alone. The Captain was
walking around in his room.
" How is your hand, sir? " I inquired.
" It is very painful. I have just been washing
it with a little carbolic acid I found in a drawer.^*
*^ I have taken off staysails, topsails and inner
and outer jib, sir.^'
He did not answer, but shut his door with a
slam. I was worried about his condition, but
was helpless to do anything for him. He was
the stubborn type, with tight lips, and projecting
cheek-bones. He believed that what he could
not do for himself no other could do for him. I
think that this applied only to strangers. As
captain of a ship you are always dealing with
new faces, and never have much confidence in
66 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
any one. For instance if, in taking the altitude
of the sun or a star, his reckoning should differ
from yours by a mile or so, you would always
be wrong. The same with longitude by chron-
ometer in time.
The loneliness of the sea must be responsible
for this. And yet in their home life, they are
ruled and dominated by their wives and chil-
dren. I remember one old captain I sailed with
in the China Seas. Fight? He loved it, ashore
and afloat, and was very proud of his ability,
claiming that he never took the count. The lat-
ter I know to be true. We left ports while I
was sailing with him, where much furniture was
easily adaptable for firewood.
When in the home port where his wife was, if
he had spent more than she allowed him, I would
have to make up the difference. She would come
down to the ship and say : " Herman, come here,
I want you to do so and so.'^ He would look at
me, but never ashamed, and say, "Well, what
in Hell can I do? "
" But, Captain, I want your advice on so and
THE CAPTAIN WOUNDS HIS HAND 67
** Never mind now," he would say, " till I steer
her away. You know she don't like you too well
anyhow. She heard all about the fight we had in
Yokohama with the rickshaw men." Away they
would go, arm in arm, a very happy couple.
The Bo'sun Lights — The Captain's Death
I was so worried about the Captain that I had
no desire to sleep during the forenoon watch.
About eleven o'clock he came to my room saying :
" I can't stand this pain, it is driving me wild.
You take charge of the ship. Take every possi-
ble advantage you can, until we run out of the
doldrums. Here are charts covering the South
Sea Isles, and here," pointing to a small box, " is
the Manifest, and Bill of Health." While look-
ing at the latter I came into contact with his
right hand. I was surprised to find that he was
burning with fever.
" Captain, may I look at your hand? "
He eyed me with the same suspicion as when I
was suggesting treatments on the previous day.
But the stubborn nature of him was giving way
to a feeling of friendship and sympathy, a sym-
pathy so noticeable in ^11 living creatures when
their material existence is in danger.
THE BO 'SUN LIGHTS 69
^^ Yes, you can look at it, if it will do you any
good,'' holding the hand out for me to take the
bandage oflP. " I don't mind the hand so much
as I do this lump under my arm, it is so pain-
With the bandage oflP I was horrified to see the
condition of the wound. It was turning black,
and a fiery red stripe ran up the arm. He must
have guessed what was going on in my mind.
" Yes," said he, " it is blood-poisoning, and a
damned bad case. Don't tell me what to do for
it. I have tried everything I can think of to
prevent this condition."
^* Let us cut it open and keep it in hot water,"
" Tie it up again," he replied angrily, " you are
only adding insult to injury." He turned to his
wife's picture which hung at the head of the bed,
saying, " You understand, you understand. We
may soon sail away through the silvery seas to
our Land of the Midnight Sun."
I went on deck thoroughly alarmed at the Cap-
tain's condition and aware that, unless a miracle
should happen within the next forty-eight hours,
he would be dead of septicsemia.
70 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
We were still becalmed ; — not a breath to curl
the blue roll. With booms and sails swinging
and wailing as she rolled and pitched in the
trough of the sea, the angry gods of the Celestial
World belched forth their wrath in thunder and
lightning. This, coupled with the condition of
the Captain, made me feel, as never before, the
utter lonesomeness of the sea. It was useless,
with the clouded skies, to try to get a position of
the ship for drift. She had made no progress by
log for twenty hours. I was anxious to know
the course and speed of the current.
In going forward to see what the crew was
doing, I met Olsen coming aft, holding a wet rag
over his eye.
He said, " I have had trouble with Swanson,
he refuses to work ship. He thinks it is not
necessary to tack and boxhaul, he wants to wait
for the wind.^^
Olsen had the real thing, if black eyes count
in the performance of one's duty.
"Are you afraid of him?^' said I. "If you
are, keep away from him. You will only spoil
him, and make him believe that he is running
the ship. Here," and I pulled a belaying-pin out
THE BO 'SUN LIGHTS 71
from the fife-rail, " Go forward and work thi^ on
" No," said Olsen, " he is too big and strong
for me. He told me that there is no one on
board big and strong enough to make him work.
I understand that he almost killed a mate named
Larsen — "
Here the cook interrupted, saying : " Mr. Mate,
the Captain wants you in the cabin."
" Do you want me, sir? "
" Yes, this pain is killing me, killing me, don't
you realize how I am suffering? Why did you
leave me? Why don't you do something to
relieve me of this burning Hell? "
I did realize that the poison was general, and
that he was becoming delirious. The unshaven
face, the ruffled hair, the dry parched lips, the
wild staring. It was plain that for him Val-
halla lay in the offing.
" Yes, Captain," said I, " you are suffering, but
strong men like you must be brave. You, who
for years weathered the storms of Seven Seas,
must now keep off the lee shore. The wind will
soon be off the land. Then ho! for the ocean
72 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
^* You are very kind," he said, collecting him-
self to try to cheer me up, "but it is no use.
Fop I can see the lee shore with its submerged
and dangerous reefs, I can hear the billows roar,
and watch the thunderous sea pour its defiance
on the ragged crags of granite. Yes, I am drift-
ing, drifting there.'*
After cutting open the hand and arm, and
bathing in salt solution, he felt somewhat
relieved, and decided that he would try to sleep.
Leaving him in charge of the cook, with instruc-
tions to keep him in bed, I went on deck with a
heavy heart, realizing that soon I should be
responsible for the crew and cargo.
Old Charlie wais at the wheel. " How is the
" He is a very sick man, Charlie.'*
" Look, look,'* he cried, " there he comes, lower
and lower,'' and he pointed to the maintopmast
truck. " Great Heavens, he is going to alight !
Yes, yes; there he sits," and there, sure enough,
sat the most beautiful bird in the tropics, the
I spent the afternoon sitting with the Captain,
who was still sleeping. At five o'clock I tried
THE BO 'SUN LIGHTS 73
to arouse hiniy but found that he had lapsed into
a state of coma. I left Olsen and the cook look-
ing .after him while I went to see to the ship.
About eleven o^clock I felt very sleepy, having
then been without sleep for eighteen hours. In
order to keep awake, I decided to walk on the
deck-load until Olsen relieved me. It was while
thus walking that I went asleep, and fell, or
The deck-load of lumber is always stowed with
the shear of the ship and flush with the sides
or bulwarks. There is no rail or lifeline, and
hence the sudden plunge. Coming to the sur-
face I was very much awake, and swimming to
the chain plates, I easily pulled myself out of the
water, and into the rigging, and up onto the
deck. While I was wringing out my pants. Old
Charlie came creeping aft, saying : " Mr. Mate,
something is going to happen from his visit
" To Hell with your Flying Bo'sun," I snapped,
" you are always predicting death and ghosts and
I was sorry that I had spoken to the old
sailor this way, but after falling fifteen feet into
74 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
the ocean, and just, by the chance of a calm, sav-
ing my life, I was in no mood to tolerate the
re-incarnated souls of drowned sailors that were
living in Old Charlie's Flying Bo'sun.
Charlie, much distressed at having the omens
he loved so dearly so lightly disregarded, slunk
away in the shadow of the mainsail.
Eiley, the man on the lookout, was true to his
trust, and no object in the hazy horizon would
escape the vigilance of his squinty left eye. Evi-
dently he was not carried away by the super-
natural things of life, but very much in the mate-
rial, judging from his song:
''Better days are coming to reward us for our woe,
And we'll all go back to Ireland when the landlords
When Olsen relieved me on deck, I took his
place with the Captain, who, although uncon-
scious, was still hanging to the delicately spun
threads of life. As I was sponging the dry and
parched lips, I glanced at the picture of her
whom he loved so well. How beautiful it would
be, if it should come to pass as he believed, and
THE BO 'SUN LIGHTS 75
she should pilot him away in their astral ship
to the shades of Valhalla !
While my thoughts ran thus, I was suddenly
conscious of a desert stillness. Then creaking
booms gave way to a gentle lullaby. The ship no
longer rolled and pitched in the trough of the
sea. Everything below was peaceful and calm.
I could hear Olsen calling :
" Slack away on the boom-tackle, and haul in
on your spanker-sheet ! ''
I knew then that at last we had the long-looked-
for southeast trade-winds. With the wind came
taut sheets and steady booms, and on the face of
the dead Captain there was a smile as if saying :
" Away with you to the tall green palms ! "
The Showdown — Swanson Takbs the Count
I dimmed the swivel light in the Captain's
room, locked the door and went on deck. Above,
there was a fair breeze, and the sky was clear
and glittering with millions of stars.
"What course are you steering?'' said I to
the man at the wheel.
" South-southwest, sir."
" Let her go off to southwest." I was anxious
to take advantage of the wind by getting all sail
" Where is the second mate? "
" He is forward, sir, setting the jibs."
Going forward, I shouted to Olsen : " Get the
topsails and staysails on her as fast as you can."
" Aye, aye, sir. I am short-handed ; Swanson
refuses to come on deck. I sent Russian-Finn
John down to tell him that we had a fine breeze,
and wanted him to come up and trim ship^ Do
you know, sir, he kicked him out of the fo'c'sle? "
THE SHOWDOWN 77
I took stock of myself. I was twenty-four
years old, and weighed one hundred and eighty
pounds. The big brute in the forecastle, refus-
ing to work, whipping the second mate, and kick-
ing his shipmates about, was getting too much fop
me. I made up my mind that there would be
two dead captains or one damned live one.
Going aft to my room, I got a pair of canvas
slippers that I had made, for with this brute
I should be handicapped in bare feet. With the
slippers on, and overalls well cinched up around
me, I went to the forecastle, past Olsen, who
was sheeting home the fore-topsail.
Calling down the forecastle, I said : " Swanson,
come on deck." When he appeared : " I suppose
you know that you are guilty of a crime on the
high seas? "
He answered me back, saying : " I tank about
it," and took his stand obstinately at the foot of
The anger and passion of thousands of years
was upon me. I forgot the ship, forgot the dead
captain. I skidded down the scuttle-hatch into
the forecastle, where he stood, awaiting me with
a. large sheath-knife in Im hand.
78 THE PLYING BO 'SUN
"Are you going on deck?" I shouted.
" You , , /' flourishing the knife ;
" kap avay from me, I kill you ! "
I noticed an oilskin coat hanging on the bulk-
head, i must say that my mind was working
overtime. My height was five feet eleven, and
he towered above me like a giant. I was aware
of the powerful legs and arms of this brute, con-
veying the suggestion of second money to me.
If I were to trim this gorilla, it would require
tact and skill. Otherwise I felt that the dead
Captain would not have much start on me. He
took a step toward me, saying :
" You get on deck damn quick, or by Jiminy
I cut your heart out ! "
Quick as a flash I seized the oilskin coat. As
he raised his arm to stab me I threw it over his
head and arm, then jumped for him. After some
minutes' hard work I succeeded in wresting the
knife from him, but not without marks on my
legs, arms and hands. The forecastle was so
small it was hard to do much real fighting. It
was more rough and tumble, and this kind of a
battle favored the Swede.
THE SHOWDOWN 79
While slashing with the knife, he cut the J)elt
that held up my overalls. I was handicapped by
these hanging around my fe^t, but fortunately
landed a right on his jaw, which sent him fall-
ing into his bunk. This gave me a chance to kick
free from the pants, and in so doing I kicked one
of the canvas shoes off. I can't remember when
I lost the shirt, but what was left of it was lying
by the bench. He pulled himself from the bunk
saying, " I tank I go on deck."
" Well,'* thought I, " there is not much fight
in him after all."
It was about twelve feet from the forecastle to
the deck. When he reached the deck I started up
after him. When my head was even with the
deck, he stepped from behind the scuttle and
kicked me in the forehead, knocking me back to
the forecastle. Had he followed up the blow I
should have indeed joined the dead Captain.
But no, he thought that he had finished me for
When I came to, I could hear strange noises
around me. Some one was washing my face, and
saying : " And begorra, it is far from being fin-
80 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
ished you are, me good man." It was RUey.
Old Charlie voiced in, saying : " That is a bad
cut on his forehead.''
Eiley had no use for pessimists. " Ah, go wan
with you, sure an it is only a scratch he has.
Now when I had me eye knocked out — "
Here I got upon my feet, dazed, but with no
broken bones. "Where is Swanson?"
" He is aft by the mainmast, sur, and be Hivins,
it is a sight he is, sur."
" Riley," said I, " come on deck and throw a
few buckets of salt water on me." There is noth-
ing so iuTigorating as salt water when one is
After the bath, with its salty sting in my cuts
and scratches, I was ready for the cur again.
He saw me coming up on the deck-load, and
straightened up as if' he thought that there was
still some fight left in me. I noticed that he had
a wooden belaying-pin in his hand. I took my
cue from that.
Stalling that I was all in, and crawling aft to
my room, I gave him this impression until I was
abreast of him, and then I was on him with a
vengeance. I snatched the pin from him, and
THE SHOWDOWN 81
finished him in a hurry. When he cried for
mercy, and promised that he would work, and
work with a will, I decided that he had had as
good a trimming as I could give him, and let
" Now, I want you to stay on deck, and work
until I tell you that you can have a watch
Calling all hands, I said, " Men, our Ca!^tain
died during the middle watch. We will bury
him at nine o'clock this morning.'*
With the surprised and solemn look of the
crew as they heard my announcement, was min-
gled no mirth at my scant attire of one canvas
shoe. That was lost in their sympathy for him
who was taking the long sleep, and I doubt if they
noticed it at all.
Death on board a ship creates a hushed still-
ness. Amongst the crew Old Charlie looked up
at the mast as if expecting another Bo'sun to
appear. He seemed satisfied with his predic-
tions. But Riley took a different view.
" Mother of God ! It's fighting there has been
going on with the poor dead Captain laying aft
there. Be Heavens, sir,'* pointing, " it's bad luck
82 T±B FLYING BO 'SUN
we will be having for carrying on like this in the
presence iv th' dead/'
Sending him after my overalls and shoe, I went
to my room to look myself over. My eyes were
black, face cut, arms, hands and body cut and
scratched, and worst of all, was my forehead
where the brute had kicked me. I still carry
this scar. I was somewhat alarmed with these
open wounds, and knew that I must be careful
of handling the Captain.
Hot breakfast, with its steaming coffee, did
much to revive me, and for the second time I
was aware that the Socialist cook was a friend in
Burial at Sea — At Which Riley Officiates
At eight o'clock I called Riley and Old Charlie
aft to the cabin. "Riley," said I, opening the
door to the Captain's room, "I want you and
Charlie to sew the Captain's body in this tarpau-
lin, while I go and find something to sink it with.
Roll him over towards the partition, then roll
him back onto the hatch-cover, then gather it in
at both ends."
" Aye, aye, sir, and shure it is meself that has
sewed many av thim up."
In the boatswain's locker I found plenty of old
chain bolts and shackles. I had one of the crew
carry them to the weather main rigging. While
going down the companion-way to see how Riley
and Charlie were getting along with their sew-
ing, I thought, by a sudden noise, that they had
begun to quarrel.
" Where the divil did you ever sew up a dead
man?" came in Riley's voice, and "Damn you,
84 THE PLTINQ BO 'SUN
pull that flap down over his face." Then I could
hear boots and glasses being thrown around.
" Get out of here, you black divil, it's eating your
master you would be doing, pss-cat, pss-cat, you
dirty, hungry-looking tiger ! '^
Then all was still for a few seconds. Then Old
Charlie's voice saying, "Mike Riley, this is a
terrible calamity that has happened to us, the loss
of our captain. And Riley, this is not all. I
am afraid there will be more."
" Ah, go wan wit your platting," said Riley,
" Pull the seam tight around his neck. That is
the way. Now sew it with a herring-bone stitch.
Hould on a minute, Charlie, till I get me last look
at him. Faith, and be my sowl, he wasn't a very
Here I walked into the room, saying : " When
you are finished I will get you more help to carry
him on deck. But leave a place open at the head
so that we can put the weights in."
" Sinking him by the head is it you are, sir?
Glory be to God, don't do that. Let him go down
feet first, sir. Be Hivins, if you put him down
be the head we will have the divil's own luck!
I remember wan time on the auld lime-juicer
BUEIAL AT SEA 85
' King of the Seas/ the second mate died. We
weighed him down by the head — begob, and it
wasn't a week till ivery man av us had the
"Riley," I laughed, "you are a very super-
" It's you that are mistaken, sir. Sure an I'm
annything but that, sir."
The cook interrupted us to ask if he could help
in any way. I told him to help Charlie and
Riley carry the body up on deck. Riley at once
took command. " Charlie, you take the head, I
will take the feet, and. Steward, you can help
in the middle. Are you all ready? Up wit him,
then, — be Hivins isn't he heavy?"
Charlie started towards the door so as to take
the body out head first. Riley promptly objected
to this move, and propped the feet on the edge of
the berth while he asserted his authority.
"And it's take him out be the head ye'd be
after doing? Where in blazes did you come
from? Oh, you poor auld divil you ! Whoever
heard of takin' a corpse out head first. Turn
him around, bad luck to you, with his feet out.
Sure, an it's walk out on his feet he would, if h«
86 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
were on thim. Niver do that, Charlie, me boy,
if ye want to prosper in this life."
We pulled two planks from the deckload, and
spiked cross-pieces on, while Riley supervised the
weighing-down. Then all was ready to commit
the body to the deep blue sea.
While the second mate was back-filling the
foresail and hauling the main-jib to windward,
to stop the ship for sea-burial, I fell to thinking
of our Captain. Here he was, in the prime of
life, about to be cast into the sea. No one to
love him, no one to care, none but the rough if
kindly hands of sailors to guide him to his rest-
ing-place. As I glanced around the horizon, and
the broad expanse of the Pacific, I was overcome
by loneliness. Ships might come and ships
might go, and still there would be no sign of his
last resting-place, no chance to pay respects to
the upright seaman, the devoted husband and
father. The silent ocean currents, responsible
to no one, would be drifting him hither and
The last few days and the terrible fight were
telling upon me.
I was astonished to look around and find that
BURIAL AT SEA 87
I was alone with the dead. The only other per-
son on deck was Broken-Nosed Pete at the wheel.
I went forward and sung out : *^ Come forward,
some of you, and lend a hand here."
"Aye, aye, sir; we are coming," answered
There was something about Biley, in his sim-
ple seriousness and appeal to my humor, that was
a great help to me just now. They came aft,
every one of them, in their best clothes, with
shined and squeaky shoes, looking yery solemn.
"Here,'' said I, "take a hand and shove the
planks out so that the body will clear the bulwark
rail when she rolls to windward." I was about
to give the order to tip the plank, when I was
interrupted by Riley saying excitedly: "Lord
God, sir, aren't you going to say something over
" Riley," I said as the crew gathered around,
"I have nothing to say, except that I commit
this body to the sea. Up with the plank."
" Hould on, hould on," cried Riley in despair.
" Sure I wouldn't send a dog over like that ! I
will read the Litany of the Blissed Virgin Mary,
and it don't make a damned bit av diffrunce
88 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
whether he belaves it or not. Hould on, me boy,
till I get my prayer book."
Riley returned from the forecastle cursing and
" Howly Mother av Moses, they have ate the
Litany out av me prayer-book, and the poor sowl
about to be throwed overboard."
" What is the matter, Riley? " I asked.
*'Ah, the dirty divils! The rats has made a
nest av me Holy Prayer-book ! "
" Sanctified rats — " I was beginning profanely,
when fortunately the cook interrupted me.
" What good will a prayer-book do him now ?
Tour prayer-books, and flowers and beautiful
coffins are only advertisements of ignorance.
The man of thought today throws those prim-
itive things away, or sends them back to the sav-
ages. You men will in time come to believe in a
Creative Power of Organization, or a Material
Force, but in your present state of ignorance you
are carried away by a supernatural power des-
tined for the poor and helpless."
While the cook was talking Riley was taking
oflF his coat, and rolling up his sleeves. " It is
BUEIAL AT SEA 88
poor and helpless we are, are we? You durty,
fat, Dutch hound. Take back what you were
saying,'^ as he grabbed him by the neck, " or be
me sowl it's over you go before the Owld Man.
It is ignorant we are, and savages we are. Take
that," hitting him on the jaw. *^ Be Hivins and
I'll not sail wit a heathen. Come on, me boys.
Over wit him/'
" Here, Riley," I said, " this must stop. Don't
you know that you are in the presence of the
dead? Every one has the privilege of believing
what he wants to."
" He has that, sir, but begorra^ he wants to
keep it to himself."
"Men," said I, "we will raise the plank.
While we are doing it let us sing, ' Nearer, my
God, to Thee.' "
While we were singing the beautiful hymn,
the old ship we loved so well seemed to feel this
solemn occasion. Although held in irons by hav-
ing her sails aback, she did salute to her former
captain by some strange freak of the sea, coming
up in the wind, and shaking her sails.
Before we finished the singing the cook was
90 THE PLYING BO 'SUN
leading in a rich tenor voice, and by the time that
the last sound had died away, our Captain had
slid off into the deep.
* « « «
" Let go your main jib to windward, haul in the
fore-boom sheet." To the man at the wheel,
" Let her go off to her course again.''
Astral Influence — The Cebw's Version of
With these orders the crew, although silent
and solemn, went about their various duties in
their shiny and squeaky shoes, the only remain-
ing sign of what had come to pass.
I told the steward to throw all of the Cap-
tain's clothing overboard. He protested, saying,
" Surely, sir, you won't destroy his blankets? "
" Oh, yes. Steward, there are enough germs in
those blankets to destroy all of Coxey's Army."
This mention of Coxey's Army was a mistake
indeed. He changed at once from the compara-
tive refinement that the hymn had wrought in
him, to the fiery rage of the soap-box orator.
"They were the men," he thundered, "who
make life possible for you and me. Otherwise
we should be ground in the mill of the lust and
greed of capitalism."
He started to lead off on the subject of equal
distribution, when I interrupted;
92 THE PLYING BO 'SUN
" Steward, this is no place to expound your
theories of Socialism. You have done much
harm since you came aboard this ship. Here,"
pointing to Swanson, who was slowly recover-
ing from his battle for supremacy, "is a man
who was led to believe from listening to your
radical doctrines that work was not a necessary
element in his life. Living in your world of
thought, he gained the impression that refusing
to work and disobeying orders was a perfectly
natural thing to do. Now let me impress you
with this thought — while you are aboard this
ship with me, I'll not tolerate any more of your
ill-advised teachings to the crew."
Later, while he was throwing the Captain's
bedding overboard, I could hear him say :
". . . To the vile dust from whence they sprung,
Unwept, unhonored and unsung."
December 20th, 1898. Our position of ship at
noon today was four miles north latitude, longi-
tude 147° 19'' west. In looking over the chart I
found that the course had been laid out by the
Captain before his death. Although now sev-
enty miles to the eastward of it, I decided with
ASTBAL INPLUBNCB 93
favorable winds to follow this line to the South
It was while doing this work that I fell to
pondering my responsibilities to the owners, the
crew and the consignees. We were carrying
about five hundred thousand feet of select lum-
ber to Suva, Fiji Islands. I had never visited
these islands, but had read of their submerged
reefs and tricky currents. • Up to this time I had
taken my responsibilities negatively, being of the
age when one is not taken seriously, and I must
say being rather inclined to lean on those higher
up. This latter is, I believe, very destructive to
one's self-confidence and determination, those
qualities so necessary in fitting one for leadership
both by land and sea.
In cleaning up the Captain's cabin I was deeply
impressed with his remarkable sense of order.
His best clothes were lashed to a partition to
keep from chafing by the roll of the ship. The
ash-tray was fastened to the floor across the room
and opposite the bed, and there also stood to-
bacco, matches, cigars and spittoon. When using
these things he would have to get up and move
clear across the room from his writing-desk or
94 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
bed, which seemed out of place for a sailor-man.
(Captains whom I sailed with usually disre-
garded any and all sense of order, preferring not
to interfere with the laws of gravity, particularly
when chewing tobacco. But if these same white
shirts happened to leave the hand of the sailor
who washed them with any remnant of stain,
His Majesty could be heard swearing all over the
For the past three days everything has been
' going beautifully, with the wind free and fair.
We are clipping it off at ten knots an hour.
To-night I noticed that the man at the wheel
acted rather queerly, and was not steering at all
well. The men looked continually from left to
right, acting as if they feared that some one was
going to strike them.
It was during the middle watch that I heard a
conversation in the forecastle between Biley, Old
Charlie and Broken-Nosed Pete. Charlie was
trying to convince Pete by saying:
. " You may not understand, but it is true, none
the less. Look at me in the * Mud Puddler.'
The suspense of this argument was evidently
getting on Eiley's nerves. He interrupted with,
ASTRAL INFLUENCE 95
" Damn it all, man, I tell you he is back on the
ship. Haven't we all heard him prancing around
in his room? Upon my sowl, I have felt him
looking into the compass. Oh, be Hivins, me
good man, you will see him soon enough."
Here Old Charlie once more took the floor.
"Biley," said he, "I believe that he has come
back to warn us of some danger."
"Divil a bit av danger we will be having."
This with bravado.
" You know he may have come back to find his
knife. You remember when you sewed him up
you found it in his bed."
" Ah, go wan, you durty ape, didn't I throw it
overboard with him?"
" It may be he wants to talk with some one."
"Be Hivins, shure I don't want to talk wit
him. Why sure'n I don't know the man at all.
I niver shpoke a wurd to him on this ship."
" Well, it does seem that he is trying to man-
ifest himself to you more than to any one on this
ship. Why not ask him if you can help him
in any way?" Evidently this conversation was
getting too creepy for Riley for he changed the
subject, declaring with great feeling that he had
96 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
never seen a more beautiful nighty and so near
But Charlie was not to be put oflE that way.
" Riley/^ he said, *' can't you feel him around
here at this moment? "
" Ah, go wan, to Hell wit you, sure'n you will
have him keepin' the lookout wit you the next
I was so much interested in what I had hesird
that I jumped up onto the forecastle head. I
came upon them so suddenly that Biley jumped
back exclaiming, " Hivinly Father, and what is
He seemed greatly relieved when I spoke and
said artfully :
" Isn't this a beautiful night? See how large
and bright those stars are there," pointing to
the Southern Cross. '^You men seem to have
some secret about this ship, — what is it? " I con-
tinued, as my remark met with no response.
Old Charlie cleared his throat, and, looking
towards Riley as if for an approval, said sol-
emnly : " Things are not as they should be aft."
** What is it? Aren't you being treated well?
Aren't you getting enough to eat?"
ASTRAL INFLUENCE 97
" On, it isn't that at all, sir,'' broke in Eiley.
"Hold on, Biley, let me explain," and Old
Charlie once more cleared his throat.
"As I was saying, we believe that the ghost
of the Captain is back on board," tapping the
deck with his foot.
I felt that a word of encouragement was neces-
sary if I expected to be let in on the mystery.
"Well," said I, "that is nothing. Men who
have been taken suddenly out, of this life may
perhaps have left some important business unfin-
ished, and the most natural thing in the world
is for them to find some one whom they can con-
" That's just what I was telling Riley, sir, that
very same thing, and you know Riley seems to
have more infiuence with him than any one so
" Influence is it? " said Riley, " and shure, sir,
he is a stranger intirely to me."
" Tell me about it, Riley."
"It's a damned strange thing, sir. Well, it
was me watch from ten to twelve. I was just
after striking six bells, when I takes a chew of
me tobacco, and ses I to myself I had better be
98 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
careful where I spit around here. I know, sir,
you don't like tobacco juice on the paint-work.
Beaching down to locate the spit-box to make
sure that I could do it daycently, be me sowl, sur,
something flipped by me. Shtraitening up, ses
I to meself, ses I, ^ Be Hivins, and it must be the
blood running to me head.' I took a look at the
compass, and she was one point to windward of
her course. You were forward, sir, taking a pull
on the forestaysail-halyards, and I ses to meself ,
^ Sure an if he comes aft and catches me with
her off her course he will flail me like he did the
big Swede.' Ah, an shure it is the flne bye he is
now. There's the Squarehead so rejuced he even
offers to wash me tin plate for ine. Well, I
got her back on her course, when all of a sud-
den I heard the divil's own noise in the Captain's
room. Ses I to myself, ses I, ^ Mike Eiley, don't
be a damned fool and belave iverything you hear.'
But look as I would I could not keep my eyes
from the window of the Captain's room, whin lo
and behold, I got a glimpse of his face looking out
at me. ^ Hivenly Father,' ses I, * give me strenk
and faith in yous to flnish me watch.' Glory be
to God, sir, I lost me head, and it's hard up wit
ASTRAL INFLUENCE 99
me helm I was doing, when you shouted, ' Where
in Hell are you going with her?' Be Hivins,
and I was going straight back with her."
During this story Broken -Nosed Pete kept edg-
ing closer, seemingly impressed, and about to
become a convert to Riley's sincerity, while Old
Charlie was just revelling in the details of the
apparition, and at times, thinking that Riley
was not doing justice to. his subject in creating
the proper amount of enthusiasm, would inter-
rupt by saying, " There you are now. Just as I
was saying. One couldn't expect anything else,"
— and so forth.
These remarks seemed to resolve any doubts
that may have existed in Riley's mind of the
genuineness of the face at the window.
The Cook^s Watch — Matbsialibm Ybbsus
I had the key to the Captain's room in my
pocket and knew that no one was in there, bnt
Biley's story had taken such a serious trend that
I decided to withhold the news from them.
**Well, Riley /^ I said carelessly, "you are
easily frightened, when Toby can scare you like
Here they all jumped toward me, and started
to talk at once. Charlie, calling for order,
decided that now was the time to fix me forever.
He introduced Broken-Nosed Pete, who had
always been inclined to be skeptical, to put the
finishing touches on Riley's story.
Pete, I may state, when he was rational, * was
unaffected in his speech by the rather unusual
list of his nose. But tonight, moved by power-
ful feelings, he threw convention to the winds,
and spoke in loud nasal tones, and with gestures
befitting an orator.
THE COOK'S WATCH 101
" Go on," said Charlie, pushing him forward,
'^ tell him, Pete."
" I had just called the watch below," he began,
" and was taking my smoke and a bite of lunch^
By that time it was eight bells. I was pulling
down my blankets about to turn in, when I sees
Riley coming down the scuttle with his cap in
his hand and very warm looking. * Is Toby in
here? ' sfes Riley. ^ He is,' ses I. * He is over in
Russian-Finn John's bunk.' *Holy Mother of
God,' ses Riley, 'get me a drink of water, 'tis
fainting I am.' ' What's wrong, Riley? ' I asks.
* Oh, be Hivins,' ses he, ' I have made the mistake
of me life by ever shipping on this dirty old
graveyard.' As for the rest, sir, you have heard
it from Riley."
"Was Riley scared when he came into the
forecastle?" I asked.
"Yes, sir, he swore horribly, and threatened
to kill anybody who put out the light."
" Well, we will all have some fun catching this
ghost of yours, I will give an extra day's leave
in Suva to the man who helps me. What do you
say to that, men?" Charlie volunteered will-
ingly. Pete was rather shy.
102 THE PLYING BO 'SUN
" Riley, let us hear from you."
" What is it you want us to do, sir? "
" I want each of you to take one hour watches
in the Captain's room from twelve to four/'
This was too much for Biley.
" Be Hivins, sir, if ye offered me a year's leaf
in a Turkish Harem to stay five minutes in the
auld haunted room, I wouldn't take it, for bb
sure as me name is Michael Dennis Biley he is
rummaging around there."
The news of the ghost soon spread over the
ship, and formed the sole topic of conversation
of the crew. Even the second mate, whom I
thought immune, was going around the decks
looking bewildered, as if anticipating the imme-
diate destruction of ship and crew.
The Socialist cook was much interested in our
astral visitor, and I thought how happy it would
make him to sail away on the wings of a new law
that would revolutionize both physics and chem-
"Yes," he said, "you can trust me to keep
watch from twelve to two tonight in the Cap^
tain's room. I am very much pleased indeed
THE COOK'S WATCH 103
to have the opportunity. I have for years been
fighting the mechanical and cheap manifesta-
tions of mediums and seers." He picked up his
apron and wiped his mouth, to interrupt the line
of march of tobacco juice which, having broken
the barriers, was slowly wending its way down his
" Let me tell you,^^ he said. " A material law
gives us life. The same law takes it away. All
material life," stamping the deck, "ends here.
From the clay there is no redemption."
At one o'clock in the morning the cook called
"What do you want. Steward?" said I.
"There is something in the Captain's room.
Something I can't understand. When I am in
the room with the light out, I am conscious of
some one with me. And yet when I turn on the
light that feeling leaves me. Then when I turn
out the light and lock the door and sit here by
the dining-table I would swear I could hear the
sound of footsteps walking around, and the mov-
ing of chairs. I tell you, sir, it is mighty
104 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
" Are you sure that the sounds you heard were
not made by the second mate walking on the
deck above? "
"No, sir, not at all. He agreed to stay for-
ward on the deck-load till four bells."
"How about the man at the wheel?" said I.
" He could walk around on the steering platform
and produce such sounds as you heard in the
"Again you are mistaken. The man at the
wheel is too scared to make any move but a nat-
ural one, such as turning the wheel, and that
movement produces no sound down here in fair
weather like we are having."
The cook was truly mystified. He was anx-
ious for me to realize the importance of his inves-
tigations in the Captain's room, yet with it all
he held fa^t to his materialistic ideals.
"Cook," said I, "you are taking this thing
too seriously. I am certain that I have solved
this mystery. Eiley is certain that it is not
Toby, the cat. Now you come along and are
ready to prove that the sounds or walking you
have observed were not produced by a material
power from the deck above."
THE COOK'S WATCH 105
*^ I mean," replied he, " that this walking in
^ere was not produced by any action of the sec-
ond mate or the man at the wheel."
I told him that nevertheless I had the mys-
tery solved, and I would prove it to him. " We
have in the lower hold one hundred thousand feet
of kiln-dried spruce boards one-half inch thick,
and twenty-six to thirty inches wide. They vary
in length from eighteen to thirty-six feet. The
after bulkhead does not run flush with the deck
above, and there are ends of boards that project
over and into the runway. With the easy move-
ment of the ship, this will produce a metallic
sound that will cause vibration at a distance, and
more distinctly under the Captain's room."
At this the cook became very indignant, and
told me that my theory was not correct at
" Haven't I spent a half hour in the lazarette
looking and listening for just such sounds as you
*^ Are you sure that there are no rats in his
"If there are, I fail to find them. I have
placed cheese around the room to convince
106 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
myself. On examination of the cheese I couldn't
find a tooth mark."
" But why are there no sounds of walking in
"That is what baffles me," said the cook.
" Since we have been talking there has not been
a sound from that room."
I sent him to turn in, assuring him that I
would sit in the room for an hour or so to see
what would happen, and to try to solVe a mystery
that was beginning to try even my seasoned
Higher Intblmgbncb — A Visit From Out thb
When the steward had gone forward to his
bunky I got a lunch, and was about to sit down
by the dining-table to eat it, when I saw the door
of the Captain's room open wide.
Then, to my utter amazement, I saw the chair
that the dead Captain had sat In for years swing
around upon its pivot ready to receive a visitor.
I was so startled by the wonderful unseen force
that I forgot my lunch and was starting to
close the door in the hope of another uncanny
experience, when I was halted by a cry from the
"Hard to starboard, you damned fool. Are
you trying to cut her in two amidship? " shouted
the second mate.
" Hard over she is," rang out from the man
at the wheel.
Instantly I was on deck. The second mate
108 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
was over in the lee mizzen-rigging. " What is it,
Olsen? '' I asked.
"A full-rigged ship away two points on the
To the man at the wheel I said : " Put your
helm down and pass to windward of him before
you jibe the spanker over, op you will knock Hell
out of these old sails." Then to the second mate :
" Why do you have to sail all over the ocean to
get by that old pea-soup hulk? Don't you see
that he has the wind free? LuflE her up half a
point," I ordered the wheel-man.
We passed so close to windward that we took
the wind out of his lower sails. The moon was
in the last quarter, and we could see plainly the
watch on her deck, and hear the officer swear at
the helmsman, saying:
"Keep her off, you damned sheep-herder, or
you will cut that mud-scow in two." Then he
shouted over to me: "It is the captain of an
Irish locomotive you ought to be, you thick-
headed pirate, trying to run us down! What's
the name of your ship, anyway? "
"Hardship loaded with Poverty," I replied
HIGHER INTELLIGENCE 109
As we passed each other the voice of the angry
officer grew fainter and fainter, then was lost in
the stiUy night under Southern skies.
I was amused at the expression of the officer
on board of the Yankee clipper, when he spoke
of me as the captain of an Irish locomotive.
There could be no greater insult to a self-respect-
ing sailorman than this phrase. It means that
you would do much better carrying a hod or
wheeling a wheelbarrow than handling a ship.
I had sailed in those down-east ships and knew
their language. They never intend to give one
inch on land or sea. Hard luck indeed for the
sailor who does not know how to fight, or who
shows a yellow streak !
While thus meditating on the cruelties of the
old oak ships and thinking what wonderful tales
they could tell, my thoughts were suddenly inter-
rupted by a consciousness of fear. Something
warm was moving about my feet. On looking
down I beheld Toby rubbing his black fur against
my feet and legs. . . .
On getting my position of ship at noon today,
I noticed the crew tiptoeing around as if they
were afraid of disturbing some sleeping baby.
110 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
I spoke to Biley^ asking what all the hush was
" Oh, be the Lord, sir, it is getting tumble on
this auld graveyard of a ship. Begorra, we are
shupe av it now. Auld Charlie seen him pranc-
ing up and down the poop deck wid a poipe in his
mouth. 'Tis turrible days we be having. The
cook said that he proved it himsfelf beyond a
question of a doubt that the old bye himself is
back on her.^^
"Well, Kiley, I am going to make the Old
Man show down tonight. It is put up or shut
up for him.'' Laughing a little at my own fan-
cies, I went aft to the Captain's room, and sat
down to watch, to continue to investigate this
mystery that was so upsetting the morals of the
crew as to endanger their efficiency.
I left the door to the dining-room half open
so that the light hung from the center of the
ceiling threw its sickly rays into the room. I
could hear the man at the wheel make an occa-
sional move with his feet. Then all would be
still again. One bell rang, — half -past twelve.
Suddenly the door slammed with a terrible
HIGHER INTELLIGENCE 111
bang. I knew that there was no draught in the
Captain's room to close it in this manner, and I
must confess that I was considerably startled.
Then I was conscious of some one moving a small
stool that stood across from me, over towards
the safe at the foot of the bed. I put out my
hands to catch the visitor, and not finding any-
thing but air, I reached out and pulled the door
To my amazement, the stool had been moved
to the safe. I was so unnerved by this that my
one thought was to get away, and I went into
the dining-room, and unconsciously lit my pipe.
When my thoughts sorted themselves it became
clear to me that I had been singled out by Des-
tiny to have the privilege of meeting a great and
new and unseen Force, If this were so great
as to be able to move furniture at will, why,
thought I, could it not be harnessed to our mate-
rial uses? Why could it not be developed to get
sails and discharge cargoes? Surely, it would
revolutionize the forces of the air and earth, as
we know them now.
While these thoughts were taking shape in my
112 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
mindy I wajs brought up with a start by hearing
three load and distinct raps on the door of the
I shook the ashes out of the old corn cob pipe,
and entered the room, closing the door behind
me. This time I beheld still greater marvels.
At the head of the Captain's bed appeared a
small light, giving forth no rays, but moving
around in the direction of the safe at the foot
of the bunk. There it stopped about a minute,
then moved over to the desk and gradually dis-
" Ah," said I, " you are getting too much for
me. Move some more furniture or that safe
around this room so that I may alight upon a
plan to harness your great power to hand down
to future ages."
At that I must have gone to sleep, for I was
conscious of nothing more until I heard the cook
coming aft with coffee. He was anxious to hear
my experience during the middle watch. I told
him that there had been no occurrence that was
not natural, but that I might have news for him
"Steward," said I, "tomorrow is Christmas
HIGHER INTELLIGENCE 113
Day. I want you to prepare a good dinner for
" Oh, yes," he replied, " I have had plum pud-
ding boiling since yesterday. I am going to
open a few cans of canned turkey. That, with
the cove oyster soup and canned carrots will
make a good dinner. I have had a little hard
luck with my cake. I forgot to put baking
powder in it. But I think that they cto get
away with it, as there is an abundance qt raisins
Christmas morning at half-past twelve found
me waiting in the Captain's room listening to
rappings on the desk. At times these were loud
and then again very weak. I opened the door
and turned up the light in the dining-room so
that there might be more brightness in the Cap-
tain's room. I wanted to see and hear whatever
vibrations might be caused from the rappings.
As I drew near the writing desk the rapping was
centered on the middle drawer. Then it would
move to a smaller drawer on the right-hand side
and tap very hard. With a shout of joy I sprang
to the light at the head of the bed, and lit it.
" At last," I cried, " at last! "
114 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
I WBB gatisfled that there were rats in these
drawers^ and in order that they shonld not get
away I armed myself with a club. I started to
pull out the smaller drawer very carefully so
that the rodent should not make his escape. To
my astonishment I found it locked. I held my
ear close to it, but could not hear a sound. Then
I proceeded to open the middle drawer with the
same caution, but found it open, and nothing in
it but a small bunch of keys. My curiosity being
aroused, I decided to look for the key on this
ring that would open the smaller drawer. After
many trials I found one that would fit the lock
and on opening it I found, neither the animal,
which in spite of my senses' evidence I half
expected to see there, nor any other expected
alternative, but, most surprising of all, a pair of
tiny baby-shoes with a lock of yellow hair, tied
with pink ribbon, in each of them.
Hack of the shoes was a jewel box, and in it a
wedding-ring. Also, wrapped up in paper, was
a will made by our late Captain two days before
his death. This stated that he had an equity in
lin apartment house in San Francisco, which he
HIGHER INTELLIGENCE 115
wanted his boys to have. Evidently he had
acquired this equity during his last visit to San
Francisco. It also stated that there should be
no delay in forwarding this will to the above
address in West Berkeley, California, U. S. A.
With the discovery of the Captain's treasures,
this essence of his personality so revealed, I was
carried out of my skepticism for the moment,
into feeling his presence beside me, waiting for
my word as a friend awaits the voice of a friend.
Half unconsciously I spoke aloud: "You have
shown me, and I shall obey. You have only to
call upon me. Do not be anxious for your ship.
I will tell your boys."
"A lonely, lonely Christmas," echoed back
vaguely, whether from Beyond or from the store-
house of my imagination, I do not know.
As I replaced his things and started for the
deck, the cook's words echoed and re-echoed in
my memory, " Does it end here?*"
On deck Old Charlie was steering. Looking
over the rail at the log, I found that she was cut-
ting the distance to Suva at the rate of nine
knots an hour. The breeze was warm, the tur-
116 THE PLYING BO 'SUN
quoise sky studded with diamond stars ; the three
especially bright ones known as the Sailors' Yard
were shining in all their splendor.
Away to the south the Southern Cross twinkled
and glittered, and was so majestic in its posi-
tion, that it seemed to command obedience from
all other celestial bodies.
Christmas Day — Oub Unwilling Guest the
While gazing into the Infinite, analyzing the
experience through which I had just passed, and
wondering where lay the Land of Shadows, my
dreaming was suddenly changed to material
things by hearing a terrible fight in the fore part
of the ship. Jumping up on the deck-load, and
running forward, I could hear Kiley shout:
"Club him, you old hen-catcher, you, before
he goes through the hawsepipe. That's the way,
that's the way. Shure, bad luck to you, you
have missed him. Stand back there, stand back
there, let me have at him. There he goes again
under the lumber. Get me the bar, Pete. Look
out, me byes. Shure and be Hivins out he comes
again. Strike him between the eyes, Pete. Give
me the bar, Pete. Shure'n you couldn't shtrike
the sheep barn you was raised in."
" What's all this row about? " I asked.
118 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
'^Ah, shure, sir, it's me auld friend Neptune
would be after sendin' us a Christmas present.
He is as fine a bonita as iver greased a mouth,
but it's the divil's own toime we have had sub-
"Bring him up on the deck-load and let us
look him over."
" Riley," said I, when they had the great fish
stretched out before us, " that is a dolphin, and
no bonita, — notice the wedge-shaped head, and
broad tail. No doubt he was cornered by a
school of sword fish, and this fastest fish that
swims the ocean had to make a leap for life by
jumping aboard our ship. Bring the lantern
here, and you will see him change to all colors
of the rainbow while he is dying, another proof
that he is a dolphin, that is, if he is not already
" Be Hivins, and it's far from dead he is, look
at the gills moving." Surely enough, we watched
and the beautiful colors came, brilliant blue and
green and shaded red, and again I wondered,
and it seemed to me that in the passing of the
human life there might be just such a color
change, invisible to those who are left behind.
CHRISTMAS DAY 119
Dismissing these thoughts once and for all
from my mind, I entered into the long discussion
incident to the settlement of claims on the dead
dolphin, as to who had discovered him, etc., etc.
Broken-Nosed Pete was sure that he had seen
him first, very much to the disgust of Riley, who,
however, could not deny that his one eye was
usually cocked to windward.
I then turned to the men and told them that
they need no longer be afraid of the ghost in the
Riley spoke up : " And, shure, sir, you wasn't
thinking that it was meself that was scared? "
^^ Why do you carry the belaying-pin aft to the
wheel with you, if you are not scared?" said
" Go wan, you broken-nosed heathen, it's the
likes of me that knows the likes av you. You
degraded auld beach-comber, haven't I slept in
ivery graveyard from Heath Head in Ireland to
Sline Head in Gal way? Divil a thing did I see
only Mugglin's goat."
Riley was about to launch away with Mulli-
gan's goat when I interrupted, reassuring them
and telling them that there was no need of carry-
120 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
ing belaying-pins to kill the ghost, for it had
departed for shores unknown.
" Good luck to it/' said Riley, highly pleased,
"and more power to it. And shure it is sinsi-
ble it is to lave on this howly Christmas morn-
ing. I remimber one time on an auld side- wheeler
running between Dublin and London, it was
twelve o'clock — "
Eiley's story was cut short by the man at the
wheel ringing eight bells, four o'clock. Pete
went off to clean the fish, and the others to their
watch below, while I turned in, leaving Riley
alone with his side-wheeler.
The sentiment of Christmas amongst sailors
on the sea makes it a day of strict observances.
No work is done outside the working of ship^
which is steering or keeping lookout. There is
no mat-making, model-making nor patching old
clothes in their watch below. They dress in
their best clothes, and for those that shave a
great deal of time is spent in this operation. No
stray bristle has a chance to escape the religious
hand of a sailor on a day like this.
It is also a day of letter-writing, with good
intentions of forwarding them at the first port,
CHRISTMAS DAY 121
but somehow in the general confusion when in
port, they are lost in a whirlpool of excitement.
^Considering a sign between the ship and the
post office reading " Bass' Ale/' " Black and
White '' or " Guinness's Stout/' imagine any poor
sailor doing his duty to the folks at home ! For
the moment those glaring and fascinating signs
are home to him.
But today is too full of sentiment for him to
think of alluring public houses and pretty bar-
maids. It is given up to religious thoughts with
a firm resolution to sin no more.
The spirit of the day had even taken hold of
the Socialist cook. In serving dinner I noticed
that he had on a clean apron and a white jacket,
a great concession for him. I was much
attracted by his brogans, which were much too
large, and had a fine coating of stove polish to
enhance their charm.
" Why have you set a place for the Captain,
Steward? " said I.
" Oh, just out of respect for him. You know
he wasn't such a bad man after all. Beside, it
will make the table look more like a real Christ-
mas dinner. You can just suppose that your
122 THE FLYING BO 'SUN _
invited guest has been delayed^ and you can go
on with your dinner.'^
I was beginning to like our cook more and
more. It seemed that beneath the hard crust of
materialism, there was something very like love
The German noodle soup, the canned turkey,
and the plum pudding to top off with was a very
, befitting dinner at sea. Of course, one must
not indulge too freely in plum pudding, espe-
cially when its specific gravity exceeds that of
heavy metals. This hypothesis was proven to
me later in the day.
Cmmp and Sailor — The Cook^s Marxian
The cook was pleased with my investigation
of the Captain's room. " Don't you know," said
he, "I was impressed with the unusual sounds
there? I was beginning to relinquish my hold
on the Material, and to give way more to the
unknown and unseen things of life. But you
can see that we are all creatures of imagination.
There are no limitations to it, especially with
those who are superstitious. Now I can plainly
understand how such sounds could be produced
by rats, just as you say."
He took his stand in the pantry, and continued,
from this point of vantage. " It is a shame," he
shouted, that there is so much superstition in the
world. If there were not so much, the capitalist
would not have the opportunity to exploit his
ill-gotten goods on the highways and byways of
our economic system."
124 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
Stirring something in a glass^ no doubt extract
of lemon, he tipped it to his lips and swallowed
it with a grunt of satisfaction.
" With such ignorance in the world," he said,
" how are we to combat this scourge of human-
ity? Let me say here,'' shaking his fist at me,
*' the (Mily solution is education without discrim-
ination. With this useful weapon we can equal-
ize the scales of justice. Without it we continue
to be slaves to the old and new masters. Take,
for instance, the ignorance and superstition of
our crew forward. While they are hunting for
ghosts the parasites are picking their pockets.
What can society expect of them? No wonder
they are a prey to apparitions at sea and crimps
ashore. Once we were homeward bound from
New Zealand to Frisco. The crew, as usual, con-
sisted of many nationalities. She carried twenty-
four seamen forward. I frequently talked to
these men evenings about joining the Socialist
Labor Party, much to the disgust of the Captain.
Well, they all agreed that when they should reach
San Francisco they would join the organization.
I believe that they really intended to, but you
know the sailorman ashore scents the rum barrel.
CRIMP AND SAILOR 125
and becomes an easy prey to the crimp and
boarding-house runner. Two days after our
arrival in that wicked city we were paid off by
the U. S. Government. I waited until the last
man had his money. ^ Men,' said I, ^ come with
me to our hall and join the one organization that
is going to redeem the world.'
"The crimp runners were pretty well repre-
sented, as they usually are when a ship pays off.
They tried every possible means to entice the men
away, telling them that they would not have to
pay for room or board, and that furthermore
they could pick their own ship when they felt
like going to sea again. The latter is considered
a great concession to a sailor. But the crimps
do not stop there. They have old sailors who
are kept with them for years, who make it their
business to know as many as possible of the men
who follow the sea. We had an Irishman in the
crew, and this lost the day for me. Just as we
started for the hall, out of the crowd strolled
a seasoned veteran of the sea. With a shout of
joy he fell upon one of our crew, crying :
"^If me eyes don't deceive me, I see Jamey
Dugan. Dead or alive, I shake hands with you.'
126 . THE FLYING BO 'SUN
"Whether Dugan knew the greasy beach-
comber or not, I knew that the bunko steering
talk would get him. It was very flowery.
" < Why, certainly, you remember me. In Val-
paraiso. You were in the good old ship so-and-
" I could see that there was no time to lose if
I expected to reach the hall with all of them.
I mounted a fire-hydrant near by, and pleaded
with them, telling them that this crook who had
hold of them was nothing but a hireling of the
crimp, and tomorrow, all of their money being
spent, they would most likely be shipped off to
sea in any old tub whose master offered the most
money to the boarding-house keeper.
" My pleading was in vain. They kept edging
away as if I were a wild beast of the jungle.
The influence of the gangster was getting
stronger. Again I beseeched and implored these
men of the sea to come with me. They only
started to move away. It was with a sickened
heart that I stepped down from the hydrant. I
had no chance with this barnacle of the sea, for
they were already starting in his wake for Ryan's
saloon across the street."
CRIMP AND SAILOR 127
The cook, lamenting his loss, started to stir up
another lemon-de-luxe. Taking advantage of
the opportunity, I stole up on deck to relieve the
second mate for dinner. He must have thought
that I had foundered on the noodle soup and
The cook and I may not altogether have agreed
on the social things of life, but I was with him
heart and soul in his fight for better and cleaner
conditions for sailors ashore. I, too, know the
crimps, and had suffered more than once from
their dastardly methods of making money.
They were always on the lookout for anything
that resembled a sailor when a ship was ready
to sail, and a short-handed captain would offer
one of them fifty or a hundred dollars a head
blood-money. With that would go from one to
two months' advance in wages to the unfortunate
victim, which eventually fell into the crimp's
hands also. He would not stop even at murder
if necessary to fill the required quota.
What if he did ship a dead man or two?
They were not supposed to awake for at least
twenty-four hours after they were brought
aboard. By that time they were under way, and
128 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
the curses of the captain were lost in sheeting
home the upper topsails.
The mate^ on the other hand, took a lively
interest in restoring the sleeper to life. After
he had spent some time clubbing him, and try-
ing every method known to the hard-boiled mates
of former times, he would find a belaying-pin,
and beat the drugged man on the soles of his
shoes. This was the final test. If he did not
respond to it, the officer would report to the
captain that one of the crew who had just come
aboard was dead. Cursing and swearing, the
captain would say : " How do you know that he
" Well, Captain, I have awakened a great many
of them in my time, and there isn't a kick in this
" Did you try the mirror? "
Holding the mirror at his mouth, to see
whether by chance there might be precipitation
was the last act. It would never occur to them
to feel for the pulse, probably because their hands
were too heavily calloused to permit of it. Fur-
thermore, it would never do to lower the mate's
CRIMP AND SAILOR 129
dignity in the presence of the crew by so gracious
" No, sir, I have not tried the mirror yet. I
am thinking that you have booked a losing."
"Booked Hell," the captain would shout,
" Here, take this drink of brandy and pour it
into him, then hold the mirror over his mouth.
If that doesn't work, throw him overboard."
Those who were shanghaied were not usually
sailors. One would find tailors, sheep-herders,
waiters and riflf-raflf of the slums, who had fallen
prey to the greed of the boarding-house keeper.
When one did respond to the mate's treatment,
he would awake to a living Hell, until the next
port was reached, which would take three, four
or even five months.
The Montana Cowboy — A Hobsb-Marinb
There are instances where the Captain and
mates of the old time sailing ships have had
cause to regret their methods of procuring sailors
from the crimps.
When a drugged and shanghaied sailor comes
on board the mate looks him over for dangerous
If he has a sheath knife the mate breaks the
point oflE. If a gun, he takes it aft to the Cap-
tain. When the drug-crazed man comes to he is
easy to handle. If he should ^how fight, a crack
over the head with a belaying-pin will send him
down and out. When the stars disappear and
he comes back to earth again, he is very respon-
sive, and willing to scrub decks or anything else
that is desired of him.
A Montana cowboy, seeing the sights in a
Pacific port, fell a prey to the crimps. Blood
THE MONTANA COWBOY 131
money was high. One hundred and fifty dollars
was not to be laughed at, when it could be had
so easily. The cowboy was given the usual dose
of knock-out drops, then thrown into a boat, and
rowed off to the ship, which was lying at anchor.
When the boat came alongside the ship, the
crimp shouted : " Ahoy, Mr. Mate, I have a good
sailor for you."
The mate never expected shanghaied men to
walk up the gangway. He knew what to expect,
and usually gave them the allotted time, about
twenty-four hours, to sleep the drug off.
" Are you sure he is a good sailor? " said the
" Oh, yes," replied the crimp, " he is an old-
time sailor, we have known him for years. He
has been sailing to this port in some of the best
The mate called some members of the crew
to get the tackle over the side and yank him
aboard. The cowboy was heavy, and he did not
yank aboard as easily as some of the other
drugged men, very much to the astonishment of
the old-time sailors.
They know by the weight on the tackle fall how
132 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
to guess what the vocation ashore has been
of this latest addition to their number. If the
drugged man is a light-weight, he is proclaimed
a tailor, if medium weight he is a sheep-herder,
and so on.
But they could not find a suitable vocation for
this cowboy who was so damned heavy. After
long, long pulls, and strong, strong pulls, he
landed on deck as limp as a rag. The mate
rolled him over with his foot, and seeing that he
had no weapons of any kind ordered him thrown
on the hatch to sleep it off.
The crimp had relieved him of the cowboy
hat, but not the riding shoes, very much to the
disgust of the mate, who remarked: *
"I have sailed in many ships and with all
kinds of sailors, but I will go to Hell if I ever
saw a sailor with as long heels on his boots as
this fellow has.^'
Nevertheless he impressed the mate as being a
sailor. He had the desert and mountain rugged-
ness and complexion, and not the sallow dyspep-
tic look of the tailor, which mates and crew
despise so. When the anchor was up, and they
THE MONTANA COWBOY 133
were standing out to sea, the mat^ undertook to
awake the cowboy with a force pump.
After the salt water had been played on him
about five minutes, he awoke, and realized that
he was on board of a ship. He inquired of the
mate how he got aboard, and where he was going.
The mate answered him very sharply, saying:
" You get up, damn quick, and loose the main-
upper-topgallant-sail if you want to get along
well and happy in this ship."
He might have been talking the dead languages
for all the cowboy knew about upper-topgallant-
sails. He rubbed his eyes, and pulling himself
together realized that this was not a dream after
all, but a stem reality. After looking over the
ship and feeling the roll, he eyed the mate with
suspicion, saying: "See here, stranger, haven't
you made a mistake? Tell me how I came
aboard this here ship."
The mate thought the new sailor was having a
joke at his expense. Stepping up to him he said,
" Damn you, don't you dare to joke with me, or
I will break every bone in your body."
" Let me tell you, stranger," said the cowboy,
134 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
"I want you to turn this here thing around
'cause I must be a hitting the trail.''
This was too much for any good mate to stand,
especially when the members of the crew were
highly pleased with the new sailor's remark.
The mate pulled off his pea-jacket, and tighten-
ing his belt, remarked :
" I guess I will teach you how to respect your
superiors while you are on board this ship."
The cowboy, seeing that the mate meant busi-
ness, pulled oflf his wet coat and vest, also the
black silk handkerchief that was tied in a very
fashionable knot around his neck and remarked,
/' Stranger, you be mighty keerful how many
bones you break in my body."
Here the mate made a lunge for him, which the
boy ducked, and with an upper-cut he sent the
mate to the deck in a heap. The mate got up
and started for a belaying pin. The crafty
range rider was upon him in a second with a
left hook to the jaw. The mate went down, and
stayed down for some time. Then the second
mate, third mate and captain came to the rescue
of their first mate. The mates were knocked
down as fast as they could get up. The Captain
THE MONTANA COWBOY 135
called the crew saying, ^^ Arrest this man and
put him in irons for mutiny on the high seas.'^
This the crew refused to do, because the way
this new sailor could use his hands was not at all
to their liking, and they were not anxious to take
on any rough stuff so early on the voyage.
The Captain, flushed with rage, ran to the
" I will get my gun and kill this mutineer/^
The mates picked themselves up and the two
went after guns. The cowboy, turning to the
sailors, said : ^
" Here, you critters, get behind a sage bush or
something, — get out of range and get • out
damned quick, for there is going to be Hell shot
out of this here ship in about a minute.'^ Reach-
ing down in his riding boots he pulled out two
forty-fives and backed over to the starboard bul-
warks to await the signal from the cabin.
He did not have to wait long. The Captain
came roaring 'up the companion way, thinking
that the new sailor at the sight of the gun would
run and get under cover. But not so with this
one, far from it. There he stood, a plain and
visible target for the Captain's and mate's guns.
136 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
While the Captain was running along the lee
alleyway of the bridge-deck, the cowboy called
to him, saying :
" Can you kill from the hip. Mister? If you
can't you'd better get close and shoot straight/'
The Captain was too angry to utter a sound.
It was bad enough to knock his three mates down
and out, without heaping insult upon insult by
asking if he could shoot straight. The blow he
had got on the jaw from this untamed sailor he
considered enough to justify him in killing on
sight anyway, for it would be days before he
could bring his jaws together on anything harder
than pea soup or bread pudding.
With these maddening thoughts twitching his
nautical brow, he swung from the bridge-deck
onto the main deck. There in front of him stood
the new mariner leaning against the bulwarks
with his hands behind his back. The Captain's
gun was swinging at arm's length in the right
hand, but not pointed toward the cowboy.
This code of ethics pleased the cowboy, for he
remarked to the Captain : " Remember you draw
first, and if you have any message for the folks at
home now is the time to send it."
THE MONTANA COWBOY 137
Hearing the mates coming^ the Captain took
courage, and raised his gun as if to shoot, when
a shot rang out and his right arm fell limply to
his side. With a spring of a wild animal the
cowboy changed for a new position. He jumped
onto the main hatch, where he could command
a view of the ship fore and aft. No sooner had
he changed to his new position, than the mates
appeared on the main deck and ordered him in
the King's name to surrender or take the con-
"I don't know anything about your kings,''
remarked the cowboy, " but I do know I'm going
back to my ole horse and I'm going mighty
quick. Let me tell you, strangers, I want you
to turn this here ship back. I'll give you five
minutes to make up your minds."
The Captain broke the silence by ordering the
ship back to port, saying, to save his dignity,
that he could never go to sea wounded as he was,
and was also anxious to bring this sailor to the
bar of justice for mutiny and attempted murder
on the high seas.
" Before you obey the orders of your boss
here," said the cowboy, addressing the crew, " I
138 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
want your guns. You know it is dangerous for
children like you to be handling something you
don't know much about/'
Evidently the Captain was in great pain, for
he commanded the mates to give up their weap-
ons, which they did very reluctantly after the
ship had tacked and stood in for port again. To
make matters worse, the cowboy walked the
weather side of the bridge-deck, and practically
commanded the ship until she dropped anchor.
Then the poliqe boat came off and took captain,
mates and cowboy ashore to the hall of justice,
where the new sailor put a kink in the crimp,
sending him for five years to the penitentiary for
drugging and shanghaing him. He also caused
the Captain and first mate to exchange their
comfortable quarters aboard ship for uneasy cells
in jail; six months for the mate and a year for
the Captain. ...
The old Hell Ships have passed away into the
murky horizon, to be seen no more, and With
them have gone the old sailors, some to the Land
of Shadow, others to pass their remaining years
working ashore, and many to that most coveted
THE MONTANA COWBOY 139
place on earth, Snug Harbor. A new age has
dawned upon the mariner of today. He sails
on ocean greyhounds, where there are no yards
to square, no topsails, no tiller ropes to steer
with. He doesn't have to sail four years before
the mast to leam how to become a sailor. Steam,
the simplified, has made it pleasant and easy for
him. He no longer requires the tin plate and
hook pot, nor has he any place for the donkey's
breakfast. (The latter used to be supplied by
the crimp and consisted of a handful of straw
tucked into a cheap bed tick ; that was the sailor's
bed in the old days. )
Today he is supplied with everything neces-
sary for his comfort, even to five hundred cubic
feet of air space, and food as good as he was likely
to get ashore.
The cracker or hardtack hash was an art years
ago, and required the skill of a French chef. It
is even possible that the French chef would not
have scorned what the old sailor discarded in
making this sumptuous repast. The first proc-
ess of this delicious dish was to economize for
days to save enough hardtack. Secondly, it was
necessary for it to soak at least forty-eight hours.
140 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
By that time you were sure that all living crea-
tures had forsaken their pleasant abode for a
breath of fresh air or a swim around the hook pot.
When you were satisfied] that the hardtack
was malleable, you would mix in what salt horse
you could spare without stinting yourself too
much, and anything else that happened to be
around. Then came the supreme task, getting a
concession from the cook to bake it. It required
much study as to how to approach the " Doctor,"
for this was his title in important functions.
Should he be so generous with you as to grant
an interview for this noble concession, you were
to be complimented, and considered in line for
promotion to the black pan. It is only a brother
in death that could share the remnants from the
Captain's table. Hence the black pan.
The sailor of today no longer need covet the
crumbs from the captain's table, he is fed k la
carte and waited on by uniformed waiters ; even
his salary is more than captains received twenty
to thirty years ago in sailing ships.
The Fragrant Smell of the Alluring Palms
Away to the westward the sun was sinking
into the deep, with small fleecy clouds guarding
the last bright quivering rays as if giving a sig-
nal to make ready for the lovely night. So
Christmas had come and departed with the set-
ting of the sun.
I was thinking of him who had also departed
so suddenly to the land of eternal rays, and won-
dered if the great Nazarene should not have said,
" Peace to those who have passed away, and good
will to those whom they have left behind.'^
For the next ten days the wind held steady,
and one could see from the restlessness of the
crew, particularly Dago Joe, that we were near-
ing land. I had sent a man aloft to see if he
could pick up Wallingallala Light. I was sure
that if our chronometer was right we should
pick it up about two o'clock in the morning. I
142 THE PLYING BO 'SUN
decided to sail through Namuka Passage, thereby
cutting off the distance to Suva about three
hundred and fifty miles. Otherwise it would be
necessary to sail to the southward of the Archi-
pelago, and the danger of the latter course was
the southeast trades, which usually die out twenty
degrees south of the Equator.
As Suva lay 18° 22', I was sure I could hold
the wind through the Passage, if I could keep
away from the uncharted coral reefs which
are so dangerous to navigation among those
islands. At half-past three in the morning
Broken-Nosed Pete sang out from the foretop,
" A light on the port bow." I took the binocu-
lars and ran up the mizzen-rigging. There was
the long-looked-f or light.
I changed the course after getting bearings on
the light, and headed her for Namuka Passage.
After entering the Passage it was necessary to
change our course from time to time, and this
had to be done by log and chart, in order to avoid
the projecting reefs which jutted out from the
island. Many of these reefs extend from three
to five miles from each island. The navigator
never loses his position of ship, and great care
THE FRAGRANT SMELL 143
must be taken in making allowances for cur-
About six o'clock we were well into the Pas-
sage and abreast of Boscowen Island, better
known as Cap Island. Away to the southwest
lay Vite Vuva, which was the island we were
bound for. The wind was freshening, and when
passing an island great gusts of wind would
swoop on us, which made it necessary to take in
The fragrant smell of the alluring palms was
beginning to fascinate the crew, with the excep-
tion of Riley, who wore a rather troubled look.
When I asked him if he was sick he replied in
the negative, " Sick would you have me? Shur'n
the divil a bit is it sick I am. Auld Charlie has
been telling me it's cannibals there are on these
islands, but shure I don't belave a wurd that old
Wharf rat says."
" Well, Riley," said I, " Charlie may be right.
No doubt somewhere in these islands there may
lurk a few sturdy savages who wouldn't hesitate
a moment to recommend that a man like you be
cooked and served table d'hdte at one of their
moonlight festivals. They much prefer the white
144 THE PLYING BO 'SUN
meat to the dark, and you will admit there are
some choice pieces in you."
" There are, me bye, but I'll be keeping meself
intact and the divil a man-eater will iver lay a
tooth in me, if Michael Dennis Riley knows any-
" Stay close to the ship,'' said I, " and don't
wander too far afield and I doubt if there is much
danger, as long as you keep sober and have your
eye peeled to windward."
" Be Hiven, sor, and that is what I will be
doing. As for keeping sober, shure and that is
aisy for me. It is only on rare occasions that
I ever take a drop of the crayture. Begorra, and
it's the pledge I'll be taking while I'm amongst
The speed we were making did not encourage
me in the least. We were logging eleven knots,
and if she kept this up we would be oflE Suva
Harbor about two-thirty in the morning; then
it would be necessary to lie off Suva till the pilot
came aboard some time during the forenoon.
The chart showed it was about seven miles from
the entrance of the channel between the coral
reefs to the harbor. As there were no tug-boats
THE FRAGRANT SMHLL 145
here, I figured that by the time the pilot rowed
off to where I should be in the offing, it would
indeed be late in the morning. But I was much
worried at having to spend a night dodging these
dangerous reefs which were not even marked by
Towards evening, while passing between two
islands^ the wind fell very light. The channel
was narrow, and it looked for a time as if we
were in danger of drifting onto the south reef
of Vite Vuva Island. What little breeze there
was carried to our ears the enchanting voices of
the natives singing their island songs. The cook
was coaxing Toby to indulge in age-old brisket,
but without success, and turning to me he said,
" What a pity it is that our world isn't full of
song and laughter like that of these happy
natives. Their day of toil is over, and with it
comes the song of happiness. There are no land-
lords here to dispossess you, no licensed thugs
hired by crooked corporations to club you while
you are working for the interest of the down-
trodden. I tell you that some day the world will
be just such a place to live in as these isles, no
worries, no troubles and damned little work.^^
Suva Habbob — The Reef and the
As we nosed by the reef, and got the island
on our beam, the wind came to our rescue, and
with staysails set I laid a course for Suva Har-
bor. At one o'clock we picked up Suva lights,
the two lighthouses which marked the entrance
to the harbor. One light is about on sea level,
the other has an altitude of some two hundred
feet, being back and up the hill and in direct line
with the first. When these two lights bear due
north you have the channel course into Suva
When I had these lights in range I decided to
run in and take a chance, rather than stay out
and wait for the pilot. Another reason why I
was anxious to get in ^as that the barometer
was falling and it looked like rain, This being
the hurribane season, I was not at all pleased
SUVA HARBOR 147
with the mackerel skies of the early morning.
The channel is very narrow between the reefs,
and great care must be taken in steering one's
After jibing her over and pointing her into
the channel, I had Broken-Nosed Pete take the
wheel, with instructions that if he got off the
course his neck would be twisted at right angles
to his nose. Pete was a good helmsman, and
could be trusted in close quarters like those we
were about to sail through.
Until we passed into the harbor my interest in
the schooner " Wampa '' could be had for a song.
With waves breaking on either side of us as we
were passing through, and .expecting every
moment to strike the reef, moments seemed like
centuries, and not to me alone. The only sound
that came from the crew was from Riley, and he
did not intend it for my ears.
The noise of the breakers to windward was
not so bad for Riley and his one eye, but to
have it repeated on his blind side was asking top
much of an honest sailor. He shouted to Old
Charlie, "Glory be to God, Charlie, and it's
drowned we will be in sight of land. In the
148 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
name of the Father, what made him attempt it
on a night like this? Look, look, Holy Saint
Patrick, look at the breakers. Ah, and it's high
and dry well be. Bad luck to the day I ever
set foot on this auld barge! She isn't fit for a
dog to sail in/'
The harbor end of the reef was marked by a
light on a small cutter, which was so dim that
one would almost have to have a light to find
it. After rounding this insignificant light we
had deep water and a large harbor.
Just as day was breaking we dropped anchor,
after an eventful voyage of fifty-four days from
Puget Sound. At eight o'clock an East Indian
doctor came on board, and lining the crew up
for inspection, required every man to put out
his tongue. From the looks of the above-men-
tioned he seemed pleased with the health of the
crew. He left, after looking over the ofScial log
book to make sure that the Captain had not been
The customs men followed him aboard, and
being assured that we were not pirates, departed
to where the brandy and soda offered a more
tempting interest. As I expected; the pilot came
SUVA HARBOR 149
alongside about nine-thirty, very much disgusted
to think that I should dare to run the channel
without the guidance of his steady head and
Had he not been here for fifteen years doing
this work which required skill and courage, pilot-
ing ships of all nations into and out of this dan-
gerous channel? What was it to him (with a,
clinking glass), whether the conversation took
the shape of the battle of Balaclava or the bom-
bardment of Alexandria? Let the ships lay in
the offing and await his pleasure. They were
helpless without him, and must await his guid-
ance to reach safe anchorage.
He scrambled over the side, and adjusting his
monocle to look me over, said in an accent that
would make a cockney cab-driver take to honest
toil, "Ahem, ahem, where is your captain?''
" He is somewhere around the Equator in 145°
west longitude," I said. " Ow, ow, I see. He
abandoned the ship, I suppose.''
" Yes," said I, " he left much against his will.
It is rather strange, is it not? "
" Well, I'll be blowed to think he should have
departed in this manner."
150 THE FLYING BO SUN
Jtilejy who was coiling down the main boom
tackle fall, was more interested in the English
pilot than in coiling ropes. The last remark of
the pilot re-echoed back from him in words not
befitting this high command.
" Shur'n it's more av them that onght to be
laying at the l)ottom of the sea with a mill stone
around their neck/'
The way Riley's one eye wonld alternate from
the pilot to the little town across the harbor,
and the way his lips twitched suggested to me
what was going on in his mind. To think he had
sailed seventy-five hundred miles to find a speci-
men like this ! " To hell with the pledge and
Cannibal Isles, isn't the sight of this enongh to
drive any poor Irishman into swearing allegiance
to John Barleycorn for the rest of his life? "
Introducing Captain Kane, Mrs. Pagan and
Mrs. Fagan^s Bar
After convincing the pilot of the Captain's
death, I was given a severe reprimand for com-
ing into the harbor alone. When he went ashore
I had the small boat lowered, and, putting on a
pair of the dead Captain's shoes, also his shirt
and pants, I had Broken-Nosed Pete row me to
the landing place on the wharf.
I wanted to look up the consignee and see
where he wanted the cargo of lumber. There
were a few cutters anchored in the harbor, but
no ships. As we neared the wharf, I noticed a
neat and clean little steam cutter lying along
the south side of the wharf, and judged from
the three-pound gun on her deck that she was
a revenue cutter. On the wharf stood many
natives, male and female. I was particularly
attracted to the native men, who were wonderful
152 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
types of physical development, standing six feet
or more, with broad shoulders and deep chests.
The muscles ran smoothly in their arms and
legs, and their tapering thighs and agile feet
made a picture seldom seen in the northern lati-
tudes. They had no worries and troubles in
dealing with the tailors and dressmakers. Adam
and Eve fashions still prevailed here, although
some of the more prominent wore a yard or two
of white linen instead of the fig leaves. This,
contrasted with the shiny dark skin and the
white-washed hair, which had a vertical pitch,
rather distinguished them in appearance from
their more humble brethren.
Broken-Nosed Pete was so fascinated by " the
female of tl\e species,'' that he forgot to moor
the boat. As the latter was drifting away from
the wharf I gave him instructions to be more
prudent, — to make fast the boat, and remain
there until my return. Evidently Pete was not
looking for this rebuke, for he answered in a
voice that could be heard the width of the harbor
saying, "Aye, aye, there seems to be a hellish
As I started to walk up the wharf I was met
INTRODUCING CAPTAIN KANE 153
by a young man wearing a Palm Beach suit.
" You are the Captain of the * Wampa/ I believe,"
said he, " I represent Smith & Company here,
and your cargo is consigned to us/' After show-
ing me where the lumber was to go, he told me
that I would have to raft it ashore. This was
rather discouraging to me, as the distance was
about one mile from the ship and I had never had
any experience with work of this kind, but on
account of shallow water at the dock I had no
other alternative and decided to raft the cargo
ashore as he directed.
He invited me to his office, telling me that he
believed there was mail there for the ship. In
passing a hotel at the end of the wharf he sug-
gested a highball, which was served in due course
by a red-headed Irish barmaid. I was then intro-
duced to a number of Hibernians, noticeable
among whom was a very fat and blubbery looking
creature with an unusually large nose. His
black beard was streaked with gray, his mouth
had a sort of an angular twist, and in opening
it one could see a few stray tusks, so solitary
that it seemed they must be quite conscious of
the old surroundings. The shirt, with its nico-
154 THE PLYING BO 'SUN
tine and other stains^ was open at the neck, dis-
playing a black and long-haired breast. This he
seemed to be very proud of.
After telling me that his name was Captain
Kane, and that he was the Captain of the " Pon-
gon/' the revenue cutter which I had noticed
lying alongside the wharf, he put his hand to his
breast and began to twist the black hair. This
was probably an act of official dignity as Captain
of the " Pongon,'' and representative of the Brit-
ish Government in the Fiji Archipelago. I got
the mail, which consisted of three letters, one
for the cook, and one for me from the owners,
instructing me to proceed home in ballast to San
Francisco. The other was addressed to Nelson,
the Dane. When I got back aboard the ship it
was noon, and raining as it knows how to rain in
this country. It was not dropping down, but a
continuous stream as if running through a
The afternoon was given to taking off deck-
lashings and getting a line ashore in order to be
able to pull the raft to the wharf. This opera-
tion used up almost all the rope on the ship.
About seven o'clock the crew came aft to say
INTRODUCING CAPTAIN KANE 155
that they were going ashore and wanted some
money to spend. Oh, no, not at all for whiskey,
just a few necessary things such as socks, tobacco
and handkerchiefs. (Whoever heard of a sailor
buying a handkerchief while the ready oakum
is to be had for the asking ! ) I assured them that
tomorrow I would draw on the owners, and give
them one pound each to spend on these luxuries.
They went forward growling and grumbling, and
not at all pleased with this proposition. I
believe that Broken-Nosed Pete's description of
what he had seen at the wharf weighed heavy on
In the morning we started the raft by taking
four long two-by-sixes and lashing them at the
ends, thus forming a square, then launching it
over the side, and making- it fast to the ship.
We started to stow the lumber on the ship, run-
ning the boards fore and aft, then athwart ships.
After having stowed a few tiers, the raft took
shape, but great care had to be, taken in starting
it, as it was hard to keep the first boards from
floating away. The raft could not draw over
six feet, otherwise we could not float it ashore,
but with this draft we could raft twenty thousand
156 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
feet aahore and escape the shallow places in the
I went ashore towards nooii to hire ten natives
to help unload cargo. Much to my surprise^ the
native Fijian is a man of leisure and not of toil.
Shell-fishing is good^ and the yams and bananas
are within easy reach, so this gentleman prefers
to bask in the sunshine rather than to work for
a paltry shilling.
I was about to go to the office of Smith & Com-
pany to see what they could do for me about
getting help, when I espied Captain Kane stroll-
ing up the wharf. From the way his legs were
spread apart one could see that his cargo
was something different from lumber. As he
approached me I noticed the cigar was so short
that it was singeing his black beard and mus-
tache. He greeted me warmly, saying, " How's
she heading, sonny?" and insisted that I join
him in a glass, as he usually took one about this
time of day.
On the way to the hotel I told him how hard
it was going to be for me to get help. He stopped
suddenly, and, turning around to look at the har-
bor as if to make sure that there were no block-
INTEODUCING CAPTAIN KANE 157
ade runners in the offing, he fanned himself with
his cheese-cutter cap, then turned towards me
saying, *^ Why, man alive, I can load your ship
down with coolies. Do you see those,'' pointing
to a couple of small men, " they are our workers
here. They come in from the Solomon group. I
will get you as many as you want for two shil-
lings a day and meals. As for these natives, they
are damned lazy scoundrels, that's what they are,
they won't work at all if they can help it."
Mrs. Fagan greeted us with a smUe, asking us
in the good old Irish way what our pleasure
might be. Her red hair was much in need of
combing and lacked the delicate wave of the ton-
sorial artist. We were joined by the pilot, who
was on his way to give his boat's crew a little
excursion around the harbor. " One must keep
them in practice, you know. Goodness knows
when a coolie ship may heave in sight, and I
must be there to guide her in. Oh, yes, I must
do my duty rain or shine."
CHAPTER XX ^
Beminisgenges op Old Clippee Days
One could see from the yawn and grunt that
Captain Kane gave, that if the pilot went on talk-
ing he would disregard all rules of the road and
make it a head-on collision. How could he
respect this thing, that called itself captain and
pilot, when all he commanded was an open boat
with a few black oarsmen ; " It is practice you
want," said Captain Kane, raising his glass and
draining the last dregs from Mrs. Fagan's high-
ball, setting the glass down on the bar with a
bang that seemed to further derange Mrs. Fagan's
She turned around exclaiming, " May the Lord
save us and phat was that? "
" Let me tell you," said Captain Kane to the
pilot, wiping his mouth, " that I don't think you
know Hell about doing your duty. Here's a
man" — patting me on the shoulder — "that
squared away and ran the reef while you were
OLD CLIPPER DATS 159
asleep, yes, damn you, asleep. You talk about
duty ! '' The • little wisp of hair on Captain
Kane's head no longer lay in quiet repose, but
started to ascend as if controlled by the angular
motions of his hands and feet. The illuminating
light in his bleary eyes continued, and he ssdd
in a voice that sounded like the rolling surf,
" Fifty years ago, running between Ceylon and
the United Kingdom, in the old tea clippers
where our topsails and top-gallant sheets were
locked with a padlock, and where we got a bonus
from the owners whenever we carried away a
sail. Those were the days ! "
He brought his clubbed fist down on the bar
with such force that he jarred many of the glasses
that were arranged around the beer pump han-
dles. Mrs. Fagan whispered to me that the Cap-
tain was not himself today at all, at all, that he
seldom gave way like this. "You talk about
duty to me," Captain Kane continued, " but I've
seen the time when every damned man of us were
tied to the rigging during a typhoon. Never a
reef nor a furled sail, while the Captain held the
padlock keys. Oh, boys, those were the days,
and you come around here talking to me about
160 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
your duty. Go on with you now before I forget
that I am Captain of His Majesty's ship ^ Pon-
The pilot was much distressed by this outburst
of anger from Captain Kane. As he adjusted
his monocle with trembling fingers before reply-
ing, a side door opened and Mr. Tim Fagan, pro-
prietor of the Pier Hotel, greeted us with a grin,
saying, *^ 'Tis a foine day we be havin', men, and
how are you all this morning? "
The contrast between Mr. and Mrs. Fagan was
interesting, and one could see that the eugenic
situation had not yet reached south of twenty-
His costume was that which is worn by the
English lodge gate-keeper. He stood about five
feet four, in the long stockings and the knee
pants, the spiral legs, the number ten boots.
This rig was coupled with the fringe of a beard
extending from ear to ear, partly displaying a
small chin and upper lip. Such an upper lip is
seldom seen outside South Africa, but with him
it had assumed such vast proportions that there
was little to see of the face. The wart or button
that was intended for a nose was pushed up the
OLD CLIPPER DATS 161
face and in line with the gray eyes. The mouth
was in contrast to the upper lip, but its expan-
sion was lost in the sandy stubble of the side
Mrs. Fagan looked adoringly at her beloved
spouse and said, "Tim, it's yourself that will
treat the gintlemen/'
It was with great difficulty that Captain Kane
reached a small shack made of bamboo poles and
palm leaves. On entering we were confronted
with a sight long to be remembered, for there,
sitting around in a circle were fourteen natives
of the Solomon Islands chewing kara root,
which, after much masticating, they spit into a
large earthen-ware dish. The kara root when
properly masticated is then collected, put
through a sort of churning process and made
into a drink which is known as Fiji grog. It
resembles oatmeal water, which is a familiar
drink among our northern harvest hands, but
lacks its obvious peculiarities. The natives
greeted the Captain with a salaam-san and prof-
fered him a cup of the thick and slimy substance.
The Captain refused, saying that it was near his
lunch hour and he preferred not to indulge on
162 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
an empty stomach, which I was pleased to see,
for if he had taken aboard some of this myste-
rious looking cargo and mixed it in his water-
tight compartment there would have been a
vacant chair at lunch on board His Majesty's
ship " Pongon."
Unloading Cargo — Again the Master —
I had no difficulty in hiring ten of the little
men, and took them off to the ship to work cargo.
In the afternoon we hauled a raft of lumber
ashore. I was greatly encouraged with this
process of unloading; of course it lacked the
noise of the steam winch and the occasional pro-
fanity of the Frisco longshoremen, but this was
the South Sea Isles where work was a pleasure.
I drew thirty pounds ( a hundred and fifty dol-
lars), remembering that the crew had some " pur-
chases^^ to make that evening. After supper
they came aft, dressed in their best clothes, and
repeated their demands of the evening before.
After giving each member of the crew forward
one pound, and the second mate and cook two
pounds, they got in the boat and pulled ashore,
leaving me and Toby, the black cat, to guard the
164 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
ship. I remained long after sunset on deck lis-
tening to the natives singing and playing their
guitars. The sounds mingled with the noise of
the surf breaking on the reefs beyond the purring
of Toby, created a lullaby that would soothe the
Leaving Toby on deck to play with the cock-
roaches, I went aft to the cabin to make the
report of the day. While thus working I was
interrupted by a strange noise in the Captain's
room. I thought it was Toby going his rounds,
but upon investigation I found that he was on
deck and sitting by the galley door. I was busy
with an example in proportion. If it took one
day to unload twenty thousand feet of lumber
how many days would it take to unload five hun-
dred thousand? I seated myself at the table
again, but was brought up with a sudden start on
hearing three loud and distinct knocks on the
dead Captain's door. I found myself saying,
" Yes, Captain, I will attend to it at once."
In my excitement of the past few days I had
forgotten to mail the dead Captain's last will to
Berkeley, California. I jumped up and opened
the door leading to his room. Lighting the light
UNLOADING CAEGO 165
and going to a small drawer in the desk^ I took
out the will, also the little shoes, and the pink
ribbons, and yellow curls, and started ashore to
mail them to the above address in the U. S. A. I
did not stop now to write the letter, which I knew
must also go, and which would be so very hard
for me to write.
I made the small boat fast at the landing, and
hurried to where I could get stamps, for I was
bound that these packages should leave on the
next north-bound steamer.
As I neared the Pier Hotel I was surprised to
see Biley standing outside the door talking in a
loud and profane voice. In passing him I could
hear him say, "Ah go- wan, you dirty Conne-
mara crook, shur'n I knew your father, he used to
eat swill out of the swill barrels.^'
With this a chair came bouncing through the
door, which increased my speed for, the Post
Office. Evidently, Mr. Fagan and Riley had
been having some political argument, for in the
distance he was shouting, " Parnell was a gintle-
man and a scholar ! "
Eiley's shouting was evidently disturbing the
peace of the harbor, for a great many of the
166 THE PLYING BO 'SUN
natives, men and women, were running towards
the Pier Hotel where he was holding forth.
As I walked to the more thickly settled part of
the town I stopped and asked a white man where
the Post Office was. On being told it was down
by the Club Hotel, the anxiety to relieve my mind
of this obligation caused me to put on more
speed, and I shoveled along in the Captain's
heavy and much too large boots. Arriving at
the Club Hotel I was informed that the Post
Office was closed. The genial host, a thick
heavy-set Australian, supplied me with stamps,
paper and envelopes, and I wrote to the owners
telling them of the Captain's death, and sent the
package in their care, with instructions to for-
ward it to the proper address.
I felt greatly relieved of my responsibility to
the Captain and owners when the host assured
me that he would take care of the postage in the
morning. Becoming suddenly conscious of the
real picturesqueness of these islands and anxious
to see the natives at closer range, I called up all
the old beach combers in the hotel to have a
drink. This seemed to please the proprietor, for
he shouted, " Come on, men, breast the bar ! "
UNLOADING CAEGO 167
I noticed Broken-Nosed Pete in the comer hav-
ing a very confidential chat with a villainons-
looking man. They were so occupied that they
failed to hear the cheery command of the pro-
prietor. The attractive barmaid was very much
annoyed at my ordering ginger ale, turning
around and looking at herself in the glass and
adjusting her white crocheted cap as if to make
sure that she was really awake and not dream-
ing. " Whoever heard of a sailor drinking gin-
ger ale," she might have said, " haven't they come
here from the four corners of the earth always
thirsty for the rirtn that makes them merry and
gay? Besides, you can never loosen up a man on
His spendings in the rum shops in this case
are not at all to the liking of the pretty bar-
maids, who flatter themselves that they get the
last penny from the sailor just off the sea. I
was reminded of the time by seeing an old-fash-
ioned clock hanging to the right of the bar, when
suddenly a trap door on top of the old clock
opened, and a cuckoo hopped out cooing the hour
of eleven o'clock. So absorbed had I been in
meeting with the old shell-backs, who were lined
168 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
along the bar at my expense drinking Old Tom
and soda that I became oblivious both of the
flight of time and the slow trickling away of my
money. I made a hasty getaway for the open.
Outside the night was warm and everything
peaceful and tranquil. The rolling hills to the
eastward were illuminated by the silvery rays
of a rising moon. The occasional hum of the
disgusted mosquito who had missed his mark
was all that seemed to disturb the peace of this
quaint Fijian town. The moon took flight,
squeezing and pushing her way through the far-
off stately palms. As she began to throw ghostly
shadows from the native house tops, I felt the
fascination of these islands as never before. The
soft trade winds, the silvery rippling waters, the
lullaby from the reef beyond, the cooing and
gurgling of the surf as it played upon the coral
beech below, were enchanting.
The distant call of the native boatman shoving
oflE with his cargo of vegetables and fruits for
early market, caused silvery threads of sound in
the night, and a parrakeet chattered as he gave
way to a more worthy rival. The tune of the sea-
UNLOADING CARGO 169
gull reached me as he dove from on high and
missed his wiggling fish.
While listening to these strange and interest-
ing sounds, I was rudely interrupted by boister-
ous laughter coming from the direction of the
Piei* Hotel. I thought of Riley, and hastened
there, thinking that his political argument must
have taken a serious trend.
Much to my surprise Riley was not to be seen,
but there stood the Socialist cooj^, perched high
on a dry goods box with a large mug of ale in
one hand and a black cigar in the other. There
were a few native men and women standing
around, evidently much amused by the cook's ges-
tures. Back of him, beside a sickly and yellow
oil lamp, stood two natives dressed in loose
tunics, whose sleeves were cut off at the elbow.
They also wore short skirts coming down to the
knee, and below that was nature's own. What
attracted me most was the coloring of this
As I edged closer I noticed that this kilty-look-
costume was a very dark blue, but the trimmings
were getting on my nerves. The wearers were
170 THE PLYING BO 'SUN
standing with one side to the oil lamp^ and from
this angle I conld see that the dresses were
trimmed with red borders about three inches
wide above the neck. The cut-oflE sleeves also
had their share of this Satanic display. The
short petticoat was more conspicuous. This,
contrasted with large feet and yellow legs, show-
ing the blood-red border on the indigo skirt, was
a coloring seldom seen in any man's country.
As they whispered to each other I noticed that
they had long clubs belted onto their hands.
The cook, between a puff on the black cigar and
a drink of Bass' Famous was decrying the Brit-
ish government for making slaves of them.
After much persuasion I took the cook in tow
for the ship. I did not like the look of His
Majesty's Fijian policeman, especially since I
was so much dependent on early breakfasts for
both the crew and natives.
At the row-boat the cook hesitated, saying:
" Just one more before we part." When I
answered him in the negative he straightened up
and squared his shoulders, saying : " To Hell with
monarchies; I shall give them the ballot to do
with as they may." The ginger ale in this
UNLOADING CAEGO 171
instance was more powerful than the famous
Bass' ale and I shouldered the cook easily up the
gangway. I noticed as I did so that the cat-boat
was not alongside. Evidently the crew was still
enjoying Fiji hospitality. This was proven on
reaching the deck, for the only sound that greeted
us was Toby purring and wagging his black tail,
happy in the knowledge that even a drunken cook
was preferable to the lonely swinging anchor
light on the fore-stay.
I left the cook, after assuring him that I would
lend my assistance in starting a socialist colony
on one of these islands. From the way he
tumbled into the bunk there would be little time
consumed in making his toilet in the morning.
Perhaps it was just as well if one denies the
claims of bedbugs, cockroaches and mosquitoes.
They had waited patiently for the past six hours
for just this event. What a wonderful oppor-
tunity they would find in this fat and blubbery
creature lying there in an ecstasy of bliss, with
not a groan to disturb their peaceful recreation.
Only a matter of a slight incision on a choice
part, then insert the valve and turn on the cen-
trifugal pump and all would be done to their
172 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
great satisfaction. But this slumbering animal
was now done up in impenetrable strata of
clothes, which ruined their sport.
Removing the hat and loosing the black and
red tie from around his neck, I blew out the light,
and left him to determine a battle for the sur-
vival of the fittest.
Shoeb Leave — The Web-Toed Sailor — The
I was wondering whether to go ashore to look
for the crew, when I heard the second mate's
voice saying: "Easy on your port oars. Give
away hard on your starboard." As they came
alongside the gangway I could see Riley and the
Russian-Finn asleep in the bow of the cat-boat.
Dago Joe was missing, and the others had had
about all the rum they could stand. I gave the
second mate orders to leave Riley and the Rus-
sian-Finn in the boat, as it was dangerous to
try to get them on board while they were so
drunk. Swanson spoke up, saying: "To Hell
with you, we do what we damned please."
I was rather upset by this remark coming from
the big Swede. I should have thought that he
would have had enough of fighting on the trip
south. Evidently the booze was working on him
and he was intending revenge. I stepped over
174 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
to the pin-rail and pulled out a wooden belaying-
pifi. Booze or no booze, I was going to make
this brute respect me if I had to resort to old-
time methods. Eunning down the gangway, I
ordered all that could walk up to get there
damned quick and pointed to Swanson, saying:
" You will be the first to leave the boat." As the
ship swung with the outgoing current, the moon
revealed the expression of hatred on Swanson's
face. The high cheek bones, the knitted viking-
brows, the large cruel mouth, showing the irreg-
ular and vicious-looking tusks, the eyes no longer
blue, whose pupils were so enlarged that the
color had disappeared, — all this gave him just
the look of a wild animal at bay.
Swanson jumped from the stem-sheets to the
center of the boat, shouting : " Shove her oflE and
we will go ashore again, and you may go to Hell."
As he reached for the boat hook to shove her off
or to use it on me if it should come handy, I did
not wait for him to decide. Jumping into the
boat, I knocked him down and ordered the others
Whether my sudden irruption amongst them
with the belaying-pin was a csounter-irritant for
SHORE LEAVE 175
the booze they had within them or not I don't
know. But the boat was cleared in two min-
utes, leaving Swanson, Riley and the Finn lying
in the bottom. The second mate, although try-
ing with a thick tongue to proclaim his innocence
of haying had even a glass of ale, was making
heavy weather of it while going up the gangway.
I reached for the water dipper and poured the
salt, but warm, sea water over Swanson. After
a few applications of this stimulating treatment
he arose to his feet saying, " I tank I go on board
now." I followed him up the gangway and for-
ward to his bunk to make sure there would be
no tricking from this brute. I remembered the
cowardly kick on my forehead and resolved if
there was any kicking to be done I would do it.
Walking aft, I heard splashing as if some one
was overboard. On reaching the gangway I dis-
covered that the Finn was missing from the boat.
Ahead of the cat-boat lay a raft of lumber, and
on the outside of it I could plainly see bubbles
coming up, and wondered if this could not be the
action of a vegetable gas.
But to my horror the Russian's head popped
out of the water, and with it came a blood-curd-
176 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
ling scream as he writhed about in his death
struggles. Instead of making for the raft, he
was fanning and kicking the water away from
I dropped the belaying-pin, and, slashing the
shoe strings of the Captain's boots, jumped out
of them and overboard after the drowning Finn.
As I swam near him his hands went up and with
a shriek he sank below. After several attempts
at diving, I finally caught him by the arm, and
arose to the surface. Swimming over to the
gangway, I caught hold of the boat painter, and,
throwing his arms over the rope, I managed to
crawl onto the lower platform, then pulling and
struggling with this dead burden, I gradually
made my way to the deck.
I dumped him down on the break of the poop
and ran for the cook's pork barrel. It wasn't
that I was so terribly interested in this lifeless
thing, but I was interested in knowing that
should I lose him I would be forced to sail short-
handed, as there were no sailors here who cared
to stray far away from the cocoanuts and yams.
When it came to rolling I gave him the benefit
of the doubt. I rolled him under the barrel and
SHORE LEAVE 177
over it, and stimulated him with artificial respi^
ration. After about one hour he began to show
signs of life. I then carried him forward to
his bunk, taking off his shoes and stockings.
My attention was caught by his feet, for he
had one large toe on each foot, and in place of
the smaller toes all that remained was a thin
tissue or web, extending from the large toe to
where the smaller one should be. Then it
dawned upon me that the reason this man never
went barefooted was his bashfulness of these
duck-like feet. After covering him over in the
bunk, I hurried to where Eiley was lying in the
boat, finding him cuddled up with his head
between his legs.
I decided to leave him there, but secured him
fast with a rope, in such a way that when he
became sober it would be necessary for some one
to come to his rescue; I was not going to take
any chances on having to be the pearl diver to
fish Eiley from the depth of Suva Harbor.
Away to the eastward the faint rays of a new
day were shown in an amber sky streaked with
brilliant pink. Taking the cook's alarm clock,
I went below to secure some sleep before five
178 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
o'clock. While fixing the mosquito net over the
port hole in my room I was startled by hearing a
cry which resolved itself into, " Murder, murder,
begorra it's tied they have me. Hivenly Father,
to think I should be ate up by those damned
cannibals and not a soul in sight to see the last
of Michael Dennis Riley."
I would gladly have left Riley tugging and
pulling at the diamond hitch that bound him,
but I was afraid that his cries of murder would
attract the Fiji policemen ashore. It required
tact and skill and diplomacy to untie Riley. He
was snapping and kicking, and dangerous to get
near. He was calling on all the angels in
Heaven to witness the terrible crime he was
about to be subjected to. I assured him that
his old tough and tarry hide was not even fit for
a shark to eat, let alone a decent Fiji cannibal.
He seemed to scent a kindly influence, but was
rather inclined to resent the idea of having a
tarry hide. After his hands and feet were free
he wanted to fight it out there, and then saying
that it did not matter a tinker's damn who called
him this name, but there was no man that could
SHORE LEAVE 179
get away with an insulting remark like calling
him a tarry-hide or an old shell-back.
" Be Hivins, the cannibals are bad enough/'
he said, " but to call a dacent man a name like
this is too much for the pride of Ireland to
As he struggled to his feet I stepped over to
the blind side of him and tightened the clove
hitch around his neck. I had no desire to let this
drunk-crazed Irishman loose on the boat. After
much coaxing and reassuring he finally recog-
nized me and offered an apology. I took the
hitch off his neck, and let him up to the deck,
Where he begged for one more hour's sleep. I
called the cook to get breakfast, as it was nearly
five o'clock, and had a look at the Finn, who
seemed none the worse for his plunge in the har-
bor. The freaky and webby toes were sticking
out over the bunk and I wondered if it were pos-
sible to drown a man with feet like these, since
they had all the characteristics of a duck's foot.
There were yet two hours left before it was
time to start work for the day, so I hastened to
my room and was soon asleep. After breakfast
180 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
it was a sickly-looking crew that came on deck,
some of them very much ashamed, others com-
plaining about not having ice on board, as tHe
fresh water was too warm and did not have the
soothing effect it otherwise would have.
The ten Solomon Islanders ate their beans and
hardtack as if nothing had happened, much to
the disgust of the sailors, who seemed to feel the
nauseating effect of this act. The work of mov-
ing the lumber was going slowly. It seemed that
the sailors could not get enough oatmeal water.
Nothing pleased them, everything was wrong.
The lumber was too long. It was too heavy. It
was not sawed right at the mill. Why did they
have to work, and so on and so on?
I realized that if this kept up it would be many
weeks before we would be ready to sail for home.
With this thought in mind, I jumped into the
small boat and pulled ashore to get three quarts
of Black and White Scotch whiskey. I felt that
after they had had a drink of this famous brand
the lumber would move with a will. After giving
each one a drink of this murky liquor the lumber
seemed to move as if by magic. No longer was
it too large and heavy. Each one was trying to
SHORE LEAVE 181
outdo the other. The Solomon Islanders were
in great danger from the flying two-by-fours, and
even the cook was wielding the axe with greater
skill as he drove it into the fibrous yams. This
was a new departure in the handling of sailors,
but so far it was working well. If it was neces-
sary for Scotch whiskey to enter into the dis-
charging of this cargo, I was going to see that
each man had enough to stimulate him to even
While ashore in the afternoon ordering fresh
meat and vegetables, I met Captain Kane, who
insisted that I pay a visit to His Majesty's ship
"Pongon.^^ In walking down the wharf, the
Captain noticed a ship in the offing. He seemed
interested as he hurried along to the cutter.
"You know," said he, "my eyes are not as
good as they should be, and I'll be damned if I
know whether she is a coolie or a missionary
Contract labor is used here in working the rice
fields and sugar plantations. The coolies sign a
five-year contract for sixpence (twelve cents) per
day, and all the rice they can eat. They live by
themselves and don^t associate with the natives,
182 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
as they consider them unclean because they eat
pig. They are very devout in their worship of
Allah and adhere strictly to fish and vegetables
as a food. They are the type seen in Bombay
and Calcutta. Many of them, after being' here
for a few years, form a company and buy a small
sloop of five to ten tons to haul cobra from the
different islands to Suva, the capital of the Fijis.
The latter town is a distributing center for the
Archipelago, and here is where ships of many
nations come and load this dried cocoanut for
the foreign markets of the world. It is one of
the chief industries of these islands.
On boarding the revenue cutter, I noticed the
native crew standing around the gangway.
They all came to a salute, as their proud Captain
swung over the rail. Their uniform resembled
that of the policemen, but instead of a red border
in a blue field, it was white. This white border
with the white-washed hair gave them a clean
and wholesome look, very different from the
Captain Kane led the way to the bridge, and,
picking up a pair of binoculars, he made out the
strange craft to be a missionary ship. " You will
SHOBE LEAVE 183
notice/' said he as he handed the glasses to me^
^^that she has painted ports, — damn them
painted ports, I know what it means, not a
blasted drink as long as she is here. And that's
not all, when them missionaries come ashore,
especially the older women, all a person sees
around here is Hell's burning fires."
The coming of the missionary ship held no
charm for Captain Kane. His proud and digni-
fied bearing gave way to that of a child, or one
who has lost a near and dear friend. " It is too
damned bad," he shouted, " that she should come
here at this time; I and a few old friends were
about to have a little party." Here he pulled his
cheese-cutter cap down with a jerk, so that the
bleary eyes were no longer visible.
" And now I suppose I'll have to be converted
again. Yes, Hell and damnation, I have been
converted to every religion that was ever heard
of. Oh, yes, they commercialize it down here,
and we all chip in to keep the brass work shining
on the missionary ships."
Here Captain Kane made a hasty exit from
the good ship " Pongon " and laid out a course
for the Pier Hotel, saying: "Little does the
184 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
world know the troubles that some people haye
who are trying to do their duty to their God and
At half -past four in the afternoon the mission-
ary ship dropped anchor about a cable's length
off our starboard bow. Her crew were dressed
in man-o'-war uniforms. They lowered a boat,
and as they pulled ashore I could see five portly-
looking dames sitting in the stern. They were
discussing our ship, and, from the scowling
glances they gave us, I felt that we were safe in
standing by to repel boarders. They cast loving
glances at His Majesty's ship " Pongon," perhaps
consulting as to what form of baptism would be
most impressive for Captain Kane.
The crew had no desire to go ashore this even-
ing. The last strenuous night and a hard day's
work, had left them in a rather sullen mood.
Even Old Charlie and Riley were not on speaking
terms. Swanson's jaw showed the mark of a
belaying-pin, and he seemed quite conscious of it
as he chewed his evening meal. The web-toed
liussian-Finn looked as if the hum of the mos-
quito would be a welcome lullaby to the land of
SHORE LEAVE 185
The cook, though silent and morose, would lift
his head occasionally from the dishes to listen
to the natives singing their evening hymn, " Shall
We Gather at the River Where Bright Angels'
Feet Do Tread." Anything with angels in it was
displeasing to our cook. He even seemed to take
a sudden dislike to Toby as he kicked him out of
the galley door, exclaiming, "Get out of here,
damn you ; I suppose they will be putting wings
on you before long.''
The Solomon Islands workmen, although tired
from the day's work, were laughing and chatting
in their native tongue as they circled around a
large dishpan of Mulligan stew.
Knives and forks were not much in evidence,
the natives preferring to use their hands to
eat with. Although trained for centuries to
eat in this manner, I must say that the cook's
Mulligan stew kept them guessing. I decided
that tomorrow, if perchance the cook should
arise under the refining influence of a good
night's rest, I would ask him to thicken the
Mulligan stew in the interest of the Solomon
The discharging of cargo was progressing sat-
186 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
isfactorily, since we now had the deck load off,
and were commencing on the hold. In a few
days I had hopes of clearing from Suva and start-
ing on our long voyage home.
Fiji Royalty — Local Color — Visitors to
Today I met the royal family of the Fiji
Islands. The King, although old, was a very
impressive figure, with his long white kinky hair
and massive bushy eyebrows. His color was
that of a mulatto, a higher type than that of the
native Fijians. He wore a loose white tunic cut
off at the elbows, and girdled around him was
what looked like a homespun sheet. This gar-
ment was twisted and tucked tight around the
hips, the lower folds falling loosely above the
knee; the legs were muscular and strong, and
the calves bulged out as if inflated with air. The
feet were ugly, long and broad, and the toes
resembled those of a starfish. No matter what
the angle from which one viewed them, there
would always be a toe pointing towards one.
The two princesses were gaily attired in blue
188 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
checked Mother Hubbards. This long and flow-
ing garment made them look like onr North
American squaws. In features they resembled
the Samoan type of women.
The Prince, of stately bearing, wore a costume
similar to that of his royal father, but his most
distinguishing characteristic was the number
twelve boots he wore. He seemed particularly
interested in those massive hides, as he told me
how he came to be their proud possessor. There
was no last large enough on the island, and again
there was a shortage of leather, so it came to pass
that some local astronomer measured the altitude
of his Highness* feet, and this measure, sealed in
a conch shell, was cast adrift and floated away to
an Australian port, where it finally drifted into
the hands of one of Dickens' migrating cobblers,
who filled the order and waxed them together.
While discussing with the King the starry ban-
ner as it floated from the mast head of the " Wam-
pa,'' my attention was attracted to the silent and
lonesome figure of a man, descending the hill
beyond the town. As this melancholy figure
wended its way among the palms, I could make
out the pea jacket and cheese-cutter cap of Cap-
FIJI ROYALTY 189
tain Kane. As he approached he wore a troubled
and anxious look as if in fear, but when he recog-
nized the royal family, his expression gave way
to a more pleasing one. He spat out a large chew
of tobacco, and slapping the King on the shoul-
der, " How in Hell did you know the missionary
ship was in ? "
" Oh,^^ replied the King, " we see flag on hill.*'
Captain Kane explained to me that when a
missionary ship puts in to Suva they raise a flag
on one of the largest hills back of the town. That
signals to the natives for miles around that there
are big doings in Suva. Captain Kane and the
royal family evidently did not have much in com-
mon, for he grabbed me by the arm and led the
way to the Pier Hotel, leaving the royal family
gazing and wondering if they could not have
made a better bargain with the Stars and Stripes
than with the Union Jack of old England.
At the Pier Hotel, Mrs. Fagan greeted us with
a smile. As she passed the Old Tom to Captain
Kane she remarked, " Sure'n me eyes haven't
rested upon you for days, Captain Kane. 'Tis
sick I thought you were." Here she gave me a
192 THE PLYING BO 'SUN
why I stayed away so long. As it was now one
hour past grog time they wore anxious looks.
A growl here and a grunt there were all that
greeted me. But after each getting a jolt of
Scotch, their expressions changed to a smacking
of lips, and a heave-aho on the six-by-sixes.
After supper the missionary boat came along-
side, and two elderly women came aboard and
asked if there were any Christians among the
crew. I informed these sanctified-looking ladies
that I had my " doots," but would be pleased to
escort them to the crew^s quarters where they
could make their own diagnosis. I left them to
go down the scuttle hatch leading to the fore-
castle and beat a hasty retreat to the cabin, fear-
ing that I might have to share some of Captain
While entering in the log book the events and
progress of the day, I realized from the sounds
coming from the fore part of the ship, that the
old ladies were making some headway with the
crew. As the sound took volume, I could hear
them singing, " Pull for the shore, sailors, pull
for the shore, heed not the tempest's roar but
bend to the oar.^'
FIJI ROYALTY 193
The cook, putting away his clean dishes, said,
"What in Hell has got into those fellows this
I told him that they were having a very socia-
ble visit from the ladies who ran the missionary
ship, and that no doubt they would be pleased
to pay him a friendly visit. The cook threw the
dishes to the pantry shelf, and slamming the
pantry door exclaimed, " Keep them away from
me; I'm in no mood to discuss religious philos-
After giving each member of the crew a small
Bible, and praying for our souls in the safe pas-
sage home, the old missionary women shoved off
for the shore, apparently not at all pleased with
their evening's work.
If they had brought about four quarts of
Scotch whiskey on board they would have had no
trouble in converting the crew, for even the cook
could be reconciled to any form of religion, old
or new, as long as the Scotch flowed freely.
A Deivb With Captain Kane — Bazobbagk
The next day Captain Kane and I started for
our drive into the island with an old battered
two-seated rig. The horse, though old in years,
had a look of being well taken care of, and was
rather inclined to shy as he gazed at an unfamil-
iar palm or cocoanut tree. I hesitatingly offered
to spell the Captain off, and asked him to let me
drive awhile. He turned on me very angrily
and said, " There is no damned ship that ever
sailed the seas that required more careful steer-
ing than this horse does. One has got to know
just how much helm to give him. If you should
put it hard over and get him on the home tack
all Hell couldn't stop him until he reached the
stable. Oh, I know him,'' continued the Captain,
^^ he has a mouth on him that will hold like the
devil's claw on a windlass."
A DRIVE WITH CAPTAIN KANE 195
As we drove through the rice fields, I noticed
that Hindoos were doing the work; here and
there could be seen the lazy natives asleep under
the trees. "My object," said the Captain, as
he coaxed the old horse past a flying turban that
seemed to be coming unfastened from its wearer,
" my object in taking you on this trip is to show
you the result of a hurricane that happened here
twelve years ago. It will not be necessary for
me to discuss the velocity of the hurricane, you'll
be able to judge for yourself when we pass that
village ahead. But," continued the Captain,
" for God's sake don't talk above a whisper while
I steer Timbuctoo" (for this was the horse's
name) " through the palm village. You can see
by the action of his head that he is about to make
heavy weather of it.'^
I must say that the old horse had taken a new
lease of life ; he did not seem to be conscious of
his cocked ankles or the spavins or other con-
spicuous growths that covered his legs. With
head erect, arched neck and ears pitched for-
ward, he was not at all particular about using
his front feet, but rather inclined to do the cake
walk, and always waiting a chance to turn and
196 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
bolt for home. This was worrying the Captain,
for he said anxiously, " I have driven him many
times, but never have I seen him act like this.
It's these hellish Fijian huts with their palm-
covered roofs that are getting on his nerves/*
Things were going along about as well as could
be expected until we were about at the center of
the straggling village. Then it happened that
from out a palm-covered hut strolled a razor-
back hog, seemingly unconcerned as to our pres-
ence and not inclined to observe the rules of the
road. The Captain smelled danger, as he warped
an extra turn of the lines around his hands, and
remarked rather nervously, '^ There's going to be
Hell here in about a minute."
Timbuctoo felt as uncomfortable as his driver ;
he too sensed the danger of this razor-backed
hog. Captain Kane relaxed his hold on the reins
to adjust his cheese-cutter cap to a more sea-
worthy position. While doing so the hog stopped
in front of Timbuctoo. All would even then
have been well had it not been for the curiosity
of this hungry-looking razor-back. I suggested
to the Captain that I get out and drive the hog
away. "Hell and damnation, no," roared the
A DRIVE WITH CAPTAIN KANE 197
Captain, " keep your seat, I will pass under his
Timbuctoo veered to starboard under the
steady hand of Captain Kane. This move was
in accordance with the rules of the road, but
unfortunately it proved fatal, for it exposed
Timbuctoo's warty legs to the hungry hog. He
evidently thought that this was a new kind of
crop that did not require rooting, which, to judge
from the two large rings in his nose, was a lost
art with him.
Before the Captain could brace his clubby
boots against the dash-board the razor-backed
hog reached out with his long mouth and took
hold of Timbuctoo's most conspicuous wart,
which was dangling on the right hind leg. When
Timbuctoo felt this smarting insult he decided
not to await orders from his venerable driver.
Grasping the bit in his mouth, he started full
speed ahead. " There he goes," roared the Cap-
tain, " and God knows when he will stop."
Dan Patch had nothing on Timbuctoo. The
cocoanut trees looked like telephone poles as
one sees them while riding on the Twentieth Cen-
tury Limited. ^^ I would not care a damn how
198 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
far he would run/' sang out the Captain as if
shouting to a man on the topsail yard in a gale
of wind^ ^^ if I had not promised to make a speech
at the missionary meeting to-night."
"Let me try him, Captain?" said L
" You try him," said he, " what in Hell do you
know about animals? There is no living man
could do anything with him now, he has too much
damn steam up, all we can do is to trust to luck
and keep our helm in midship and let him run
After running about two miles he seemed to
realize that the Captain was still with him and
not, as he expected, back with the razor-backed
hog. Very much disappointed, he broke into a
dog trot, much to the relief and satisfaction of
the Captain. As he withdrew his number tens,
which had perforated through the dashboard, he
said, " Well, I have never come through a storm
and lost as little canvas as on this here passage."
Timbuctoo had no desire to set the fisherman's
staysails, he was content to slow down to a walk.
" Now," said the Captain, " let me get my bear-
ings. Before we met the razor-back, I was
A DRIVE WITH CAPTAIN KANE 199
going to show you the results of a hurricane as
we know them m the Fijis."
After Captain Kane had read the various loga-
rithms in regard to his position, he decided that
with the hypothenuse over the base the sine lay
ahead and after driving about one-half mile, we
came to a large boulder alongside the narrow
road. "How much does that boulder weigh?"
sniffed the Captain.
" Oh," said I, " about four tons."
"Would you believe," said he, "that during
the hurricane of twelve years ago this boulder
was carried a distance of three miles?" The
Captain was somewhat injured at my not show-
ing more enthusiasm. I must say that the
boulder story was hard to absorb, although from
its present position on the surface of the ground
it showed that it had been moved there recently
by some force other than the hand of man.
Taking a chew of tobacco and damning Tim-
buctoo for daring to rub his foaming mouth on
his pea jacket, he said, " You may not believe that
this was moved by the hurricane. By God, I
can prove it and prove it I will when we reach
200 THE FLYING BO'StJN
' Suva.'* Evidently he hoped to invoke the testi-
mony of some of the worthies who drink their
Scotch to the lullaby of the sad sea waves. On
our way back to Suva I was impressed by the
scenery of the interior of the island, the rolling
hills, the native timber resembling California red-
wood in color, the tall cocoanut trees, the fre-
quent smell of the pineapple, an occasional
glimpse of a date palm trying to rear its head
from amongst the tropical foliage, claiming a
riparian right to the native shrubbery.
Timbuctoo, on the way back to Suva, was
slipping it off as well as he could after his recent
flight. The razor-back hog recalled early mem-
ories to me of the country I knew when I was a
boy. The rings in their noses were no new things
to me in that far-off country. The coming of the
new potato 'crop held much charm for the Irish
hog, but unfortunately the English landlord
claimed a prior right in lieu of rent, and poor
Barney was subjected to the cruel and unmer-
ciful treatment of having horseshoe nails twisted
in his nose.
The Captain was in a rather sullen mood as
we drove back. Having had nothing to drink
A DRIVE WITH CAPTAIN KANE 201
but the milk from the eocoannt, he exclaimed:
" Why in Hell don't some one start a half-way
house out here for the benefit of those who admire
and travel these islands? '^
Homeward Bound — The Stowaway
Having cleared the English customs and with
a clean bill of health, we were ready to sail. The
pilot was on board and his boat's crew had a line
fast through the stem chalk so that we could
tow them with us clear of the channel reef.
Once clear of the reef all that remained to do was
to haul the pilot boat alongside and have this
servant of His Majesty climb down the Jacob's
ladder and into the boat which would bear him
away to the spot where the sound of the surf
merged into the music of the clinking glass.
While giving orders to rig out slip lines for
him I heard a familiar voice on the wharf sing
out " Bon voyage, bon voyage." I looked up to
see the portly figure of Captain Kane. He
looked as if he had slept in his clothes. His pea
jacket had many wrinkles in the back and in.
front it was inclined to roll up toward his chin.
HOMEWARD BOUND 203
I jumped ashore to say good-bye to this kind,
if groggy old sea dog, shook him by the hand,
and thanked him for my trip to the interior of
the island, saying that I hoped to see him again.
" You know,^' he said, " I am getting old, but
the smell of the Stockholm tar, the white flowing
sails, the squeaking blocks, the clink of the cap-
stan, bring back memories of long ago, and, damn
it all, it makes me young again."
Captain Kane laid great stress on the hurri-
cane season, as January, February and March
were the months to be dreaded in the South Seas.
After seeing the boulder that had been hurled
by the last hurricane on these islands, I was
hoping that I should be well enough to the north-
ward, so that if one should come I would be out
of the storm center, and therefore out of danger.
The pilot was nervously pacing up and down
the main deck anxious to get me away from the
wharf and out to sea. Possibly a game of chess
had been left unfinished. I jumped aboard and
ordered the foresail and main jib set. With this
done and the slip lines hauled aboard, the
"Wampa" glided away from the wharf as if
propelled by steam.
204 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
With the af tersails spread and set to the south-
east trades, and sheets trimmed to the wind, we
were not long in clearing the channel reef and
getting out into open water. After the pilot left
I ordered the topsails set. The breeze was fair,
and I was anxious to clear Bangor Island and
get to the westward of it before darkness set in.
The crew looked happy even after their night^s
debauch, some were whistling, others humming
familiar ditties. Eiley could be heard singing
" Boiling Home Across the Sea " from his posi-
tion on the f oretopmast, as he changed the top-
sail to windward, a job which is usually done
with very little sentiment of home or any other
Distance was shutting out the tall green palms
around Suva, and the town itself was just a speck
on the horizon. Taking careful cross-bearings
of Bangor Island, so as to avoid the dangers and
submerged coral reefs that project from it, I
ordered the staysails set to increase our speed
so that with darkness I would be well to the west-
Our staysails were put away and stowed in the
fore peak when we came into port. The second
HOMEWARD BOUND 205
mate went forward to get them up, and Swanson
went down to bend a line around them before
hauling them on deck. He had been down in
the fore peak only a minute before he came up
the ladder running very excitedly and saying
that there was a dead man lying on the staysails.
The crew, much upset by this remark, slunk away
from the fore peak hatch as if deadly fumes were
coming from within, so I got a lantern and went
down to see the supposed dead man. I was con-
fronted by a Hindoo stowaway.
He was so weak from the heat of the fore peak
and thirst that he seemed to have little life left
in him. I called up to the deck above for a
couple of men to come down and giv^ me a hand
to carry. him. Old Charlie and Riley cautiously
felt their way down, Riley ^ving orders to the
crew above not to stand too close to the small
hatch, as it might be necessary for him to ascend
with all possible speed and he did not care to
have any obstruction to his flight. Old Charlie
approached with his usual forebodings. The
finding of the dead Hindoo, in his estimation,
meant nothing less than doom and destruction
to all on board.
206 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
Eiley was more cheerful when he found that
there was little chance of physical danger from
the supposed dead man. Bending the rope
around him and carrying him to the mouth of
the hatch^ I shouted to the crew on deck to haul
away yery gently. We steered him up the hatch
and landed him on deck without any serious
bumps. The cool breeze restored him, and when
we forced some water down his throat he began
to show signs of life.
I went aft to get a glass of Scotch whiskey,
knowing that this would stimulate the heart
action. After taking a teaspoonf ul, his moaning
changed to some kind of Hindoo gibberish. This
change seemed to amuse the crew. They no
longer looked gloomy and down in the mouth, but
seemed yery willing to help him in his fight for
life. As he lay there I was seized with a very
inhuman and selfish impulse. The night shades
of the tropical evening were becoming conspic-
uous in the western horizon, the run on the log
showed the " Wampa ^' sixteen miles to the south-
ward and westward of Suva harbor, with the
southeast point of Bangor Island bearing two
points on the starboard bow.
HOMEWARD BOUND 207
Should the Hindoo stowaway come back to
life, it would be necessary to tack ship and put
back to Suva in order to put him ashore.
U. S. alien laws are well known to sea-faring
men. This stowaway had no money, no position,
and all that he had in the way of clothes was a
thin pair of pants. Should unfayorable condi-
tions prevent my putting him ashore, I would be
forced to carry him to San Francisco. Once
there I knew what the immigration authorities
would do to me or to the owners. More than
likely I should have to pay his passage back by
steamboat to the Fiji Islands. With darkness
approaching it was not my intention to put back
to Suva and run the risk of striking the reef at
the entrance of the harbor. For these reasons,
I should much prefer a sea burial for the Hindoo
While these hard and unsympathetic thoughts
were passing before the visible horizon of my
mind, I was nevertheless attracted by his deli-
cate and artistic form. The long and straight
black hair, the finely molded ears, the aquiline
nose, the perfect profile, the well-rounded chin,,
the sensual mouth with its uniform white teeth
208 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
were truly oriental of high caste. An unusual
type for a Fijian contract laborer.
I was deeply impressed with his boyish fig-
ure as he lay struggling for breath on the deck.
Suddenly I was seized with an impulse of sym-
pathy for this frail-looking creature. Grasping
the bottle of Scotch I pressed it to his lips and
poured some down his throat. This act caused
him to strangle. After fighting for breath he
opened his eyes and sat up against the hatch
His eyes were bright and fiery and seemed to
penetrate through one like an X-ray. They took
in the situation at a glance. He realized that
he was out at sea. His gaze alternated from the^
flowing sail to the members of the crew. His
eye finally rested on Swanson, he being the most
brutish looking sailor of those who were stand-
ing around, and therefore the most to be feared.
I spoke to the Hindoo and said, " How long have
you been on board? "
"Oh," said he, "I have been down there,"
pointing to the fore peak, " for three days." He
spoke English without an accent. Then he told
how he had swam off to the ship, while we were
HOMEWARD BOUND 209
still lying at anchor, and said that he had no idea
that we would have been delayed so long before
putting to sea.
I then told him that it would be impossible to
carry him to the United States of America.
Although weak from heat and hunger^ he stag-
gered to his feet and kis&ed my hand, crying,
" Oh, please. Captain, take me along with you.
I cannot live there under these horrible condi-
tions, working for sixpence a day with nothing
to eat but curry and rice. I will work for you,
I will do anything, only take me away from
I deeply resented my previous thought of dis-
posing of this intelligent Hindoo. The picture
this outcast made standing there trembling, with
tears streaming down his boyish face, pleading
as though his heart would break, was getting the
best of me. Very few men of the sea can stand
tears and emotion. Although hardened by years
of kicks and knocks, the old-time sailor would
much prefer a knock-down and drag-out to any
signs of agitation. Many of the crew themselves
consciously looked to windward and wiped away
a rusty tear.
210 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
While the Hindoo was still pleading, Swanson
stepped up to me and between sobs said, "I
wish you would take him along, sir, I have no
one in the world to care for, and I can easily
spare the forty dollars that you say will be neces-
sary for him to enter the United States.'^ With
this offer coming from a man like Swanson, I
was as much overcome as the Hindoo was, in his
pleading for liberty to be taken away from the
low and dirty castes of Bombay and Calcutta
which furnish labor for the Fiji Islands. He
thanked Swanson by gracefully bowing and said,
turning to me, ^^ I am sure you can make some
use of me on your voyage home." This state-
ment proved true, for had it not been for the
stowaway, this narrative would never have been
The Socialist cook was standing with his back
up against the galley, deeply impressed with this
new possibility. From the way he ran to make
milk toast for the Hindoo, one would think that
at last he had discovered a new clay to mold and
construct and pattern after his own impressions.
The Mysterious Hindoo
Wtth the Hindoo question solved and the fish-
erman's staysails set, Suva was lost in the dis-
tance and remained but a memory. By the time
the studded diamonds in their azure setting were
twinkling in all the splendor of a Southern sky,
we were well to the westward of Bangor Island.
We had nothing to fear from coral reefs until we
neared the Gilbert group, which lay east of the
180th meridian and north and south of the Equa-
After the Hindoo had eaten the milk toast and
found that he was in the midst of friends, sail-
ing away to a country where opportunity knocks
on the door of hovels, he no longer looked the
slave to his master. He refused to bunk in the
forecastle, preferring to sleep under the fore-
castle head. The tropical nights were warm,
and for the time being this was a comfortable
part of the ship in which to sleep. The crew
212 THE PLYING BO'isUN
were kind enough to furnish blankets for him,
in fact, were willing to give him anything they
jhad, for thev considered him an unusual guest.
At ten o'clock I turned in and left orders with
the second mate to call me at midnight. By that
time I knew that if we held our present tate of
eleven knots per hour, we should be far enough
to the westward to change the course, and haul
her more northerly. Coming on deck at eight
bells and getting the distance run on the log, I
went back to my room to measure the distance
on the chart before changing the course. I
decided to run one more hour before changing
to the northward.
Old Charlie was at the wheel, and it seemed
from the way he was clearing his throat that
he was anxious for a chat. But discipline for-
bade. I walked forward to look at the sails,
and see if they needed sweating up. While look-
ing around I ran into Riley, who as usual was
smoking his clay pipe, with its black bowl and
short stem. It was strong enough of nicotine to
drive a wharf -rat to suicide.
*^ Riley," said I, " no doubt you are happy that
we are on the last leg of our voyage."
THE MYSTERIOUS HINDOO 213
Before answering lie gave a few heavy puffs
on the old dudeen to insure its not going out.
While he was doing this I immediately changed
for a new position to windward, for to be caught
to leeward of these deadly fumes was to share
the fate of the wharf -rat.
" Well/' said Riley, " I am, and I am not."
" Come,'' I replied, " what is it that troubles
you? " Thinking that I had found the source of
his discontent, I added, — " Surely, you can't
expect me to feed you on Scotch whiskey all the
passage home? What little there is on board
must be kept for medicine. Just think what
might have happened to the poor Hindoo had I
not had a little Scotch left on board."
At the mention of the Hindoo's name Riley
stepped up close to me, saying, " Whisht, and it
is that what is troubling me, it is that damned
coolie," and he pointed to the forecastle.
" Surely," I protested, " you are not afraid of
that poor weak creature."
Riley fastened down the tin cover to his pipe
so as to secure the remains of the tobacco for
future use. Economy of tobacco is strictly
observed on long voyages. Even the ashes have
214 THE PLYING BO 'SUN
an intrinsic value among sailors^ like the kind-
ling wood of a coal stove. Tucking the pipe
away in the folds of his breeches^ he said :
" Ho, ho, and it is afraid you would have me !
Shure'n I am afraid of nothing in the say, and
I will be damned if I will be afraid of anything
on top of it/'
"Well, what about the Hindoo^ what harm
can he do to you ? '^
" Oh, it's the divil a bit he will be doing me.
It's his snaky movements and his ferret eyes that
is getting on me nerves. During the dog-watch,^'
continued Riley, "we fixed a place under the
foc's'le head for the coolie, giving him what blan-
kets we could spare. At eight o'clock our watch
below turned in. Says I to Dago Joe, ^Turn
down the glim.' *I will blow it out,' says he.
* Not by a damn sight,' says I. ' Shur'n we are
liable to scrape our bottom on an auld coral reef
arouxid here, and it isn't Mike Riley that is going
to get caught like a rat in a trap.' The Dago is
a reasonable man to talk to, and with that he
turns the light very low. About elieven o'clock
I woke up along the hearing Broken-Nosed Pete
snoring. After throwing me auld shoe at him, I
THE MYSTERIOUS HINDOO 215
rolled over with me face to the scuttle hatch^ to
get meself another nap before eight bells, when I
see the Hindoo standing there at the bottom of
the ladder. I rubbed me eye to make sure it
wasn't desayving me. Pulling meself together,
I says to meself, says I, * Whativer he is, he is
there for no good purpose.' Begob, the stran-
gest thing about the coolie was that he did not
move a muscle, but stood there like a statue,
staring straight into me eye.
" I shouted to the Dago to turn up the light,
which is within easy reach of him. Says I,
* Things are not as they should be down here.'
With me eye still on the Hindoo, Dago Joe turned
up the light. I declare to me Maker when the
light was turned up the Hindoo had disappeared.
" ^ That's damned strange,' says I to Dago Joe.
^ Be Hivens he was standing there not a minute
ago,' and when I comes up on deck at eight bells
I looked under the foc's'le head and there he is,
fast asleep. So I lights me poipe, and takes a
look over the sea to leeward of the foresail, to
see if we are still in sight of land. While I am
standing there humming a bit av an auld ditty,
all of a sudden I felt meself in the presence of
216 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
something uncanny^ and turning around quick-
like, there stood the coolie. Ses I to him, ses I :
" ' What are you up to, me boy? '
" * Oh,' says the coolie, * the wash on the prow
is disturbing to my peaceful slumbers. I should
much prefer being crooned to sleep by the wav-
ing branches of a Himalayan evergreen.'
" Ses I, ^ Me coolie friend, no more of your pal-
avering. Back to bed with you, and stay there.'
I looked at him again, and, shure, Howly St.
Patrick, he disappears like he did in the f oc's'le."
" Where is he now Riley? "
" Begobs, and I don't know, sir."
I went forward to see the strange visitor who
seemed to be causing Riley so much misery.
There, under the forecastle head, the Hindoo lay,
wrapped in his blankets, sound asleep.
" Riley," said I, " you drank too much Scotch
last night ; be careful that you don't get the Jim-
mies and jump overboard. If you feel yourself
slipping just tie a gasket around you. We need
you to work ship on the voyage home."
These insults were too much for Riley. He
slunk away to the lookout where Broken-Nosed
THE MYSTERIOUS HINDOO 217
Pete would lend a willing ear to his story of the
Hindoo and his abuse of me.
At one o'clock, feeling sure of the reefs, I
changed the course to N. N. W.
The next morning the Hindoo was eating his
breakfast off the forehatch and looking much
better than he had on the preceding evening.
He rose and thanked me kindly for the interest
we had taken in him, saying :
" I feel the pleasure of liberty after my prison
term, among those terrible people. As for last
night, I was quite comfortable. I can easily adapt
myself to the new environment. But although I
could not quite understand what the one-eyed
man meant when he bent over me in the night,
exclaiming, 'There he is, and the divil a move
out of him,' I feel nevertheless, that I am in the
midst of friends, and I shall do my best to enter-
tain their friendship."
These quaint expressions were pleasing to me,
and I continued the conversation. He said that
he had had no sea experience. That while going
from Bombay to the Fiji Islands he was battened
down in the hold with the rest of the coolie labor.
218 THE PLYING BO 'SUN
and only allowed to walk the deck a short time
in the evenings. He was anxious to work and
help in any way that he could. The second mate
put him to work scrubbing paint-work. There is
always plenty of this kind of work to be done on
every ship. The Hindoo went to work with a
will, as if glad to have the opportunity.
For the next four days the southeast trades
held fair, until we were well to the northward of
the Fiji group. I was hoping to get east of the
180th meridian before crossing the Equator.
This would give me a better slant before I struck
the northeast trades. Then in latitude about 30®
north we would encounter the westerly winds,
which would be fair for the Pacific coast.
I was well pleased with the progress we had
made since we left Suva, and I anticipated mak-
ing a sailing record from the Fijis to San Fran-
Events had favored us since our departure.
The crew were willing and the good ship herself
seemed to feel that she was homeward bound.
But our outward peace was somewhat broken by
the sudden and mysterious illness of the Hindoo,
who, after the second day out from Suva refused
THE MYSTERIOUS HINDOO 219
to eat, complaining of a headache, and later
remaining for hours in what appeared to be
almost a state of coma.
I was worried by this new disease, and hoped
that it would not prove to be contagious. As a
precautionary measure, I removed the Hindoo
aft to the deceased Captain's cabin. For two
days it was with a great effort that he was even
aroused to drink a cup of bouillon.
At two o'clock in the morning of our flfth day
from Suva, I was awakened by hearing the booms
and gaflfs swinging as if in a calm. I thought
this very strange, as the southeast trades should
have held until we were well across the Equator.
Bushing up on deck, I was indeed surprised to
find the sails hanging in midships, and not a
breath from any quarter of the compass.
I ordered the staysails down and the topsails
clewed up and made fast, also the flying-jib and
outer jib. ( These lighter sails in a calm usually
flop to pieces, especially where there is a rolling
swell. ) Away to the eastward I noticed a heavy
bank of clouds, but considered this of minor
importance, as we were nearing the Equator. It
usually means heavy rain, but seldom wind.
Yet this morning there was something out of
the ordinary, because of the long swell coming
from the northeast, and the sickly and suffocat-
THE HUREICANE 221
ing atmosphere. The unusual stillness was
intensified by the murmuring and talking of the
crew. The men who were making fast the head-
sails on the flying jibboom could be heard plainly
from the poop deck, growling and swearing as
they passed the gaskets around the sails. Such
was the funereal quietness of the morning that
even the stars were hidden in halos of a yellow-
Giving instructions to haul in the log line, I
went below to look at the barometer. I was sur-
prised to find it falling. I next consulted a Paci-
fic directory, and found that these unusual con-
ditions preceded a hurricane. This information
upset me greatly. I had never experienced a
hurricane, but well knew that their force/ and
destructive power was very great.
Before going on deck again, I looked in on the
Hindoo in the Captain's room. As usual, he
was in a stupor, and looked as if he had not moved
since being fed the preceding evening. I did
notice from the heaving of the skeleton-like
breast, that the breathing was regular, and not
intermittent as it had been on the preceding even-
222 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
On deck, I had all the reef -earrings brought up
from the lazarette, and got everything in readi-
ness for any emergency.
I was well to the westward of the Gilbert
group, but still to the eastward of the 180th
Meridian. Should the hurricane come out of the
east, I could heave to and ride it oiit without any
danger of fetching up on one of the GUbert
In the cabin the barometer was falling so fast
that it now showed hurricane weather. I knew
that it was only a question of a few hours before
we should feel its fury. My experience was lim-
ited in the laws of storms. If we were in the
storm center it would be necessary to put her
into the port tack. By doing this I should be
forced south, and back onto the northern isles
of the Fiji group, while on a starboard tack I
should be driven onto a lee shore of the Gilbert
Islands. Either course meant destruction.
With daylight and hot coffee this gloomy sit-
uation assumed a more cheerful aspect. While
the old sailor has the light of day to guide him
over storm-tossed decks, he becomes more toler-
ant of ship and crew.
THE HURRICANE 223
At half -past five the white caps could be seen
coming from the northeast, and before we got
the spanker down the gale struck us, about six
I)oints on the starboard bow. The old ship
reeled to leeward, with the lee rail under water.
The decks were almost perpendicular. It seemed
that no power on earth could right her to an
even keel again. There were two men at the
wheel, trying to keep her oflf before the gale,
but it was of no avail, for she refused to answer
her helm, and lay throbbing as if undecided
whether to seek a watery grave, or to continue
her fight for victory.
Swanson, by a heroic effort, cut the fore and
main sheet, and then let go by the run. The
tense situation was relieved as the booms flew
seaward over the lee rail. We then kept her off
before the gale with the wind on the starboard
quarter, immediately setting to work to reef the
fore and main sail.
By nine o'clock, three hours and a half later,
it was no longer a gale, but a hurricane. With
three reefs in the foresail and a goose-wing
spanker, we ran before it. It was too late to
heave to. With such a tremendous sea running
224 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
it would mean destruction to ship and crew to
try the latter move. As it was, the ship was
awash fore and aft from seas breaking over her.
Should the hurricane hold out for ten or twelve
hours more with our present rate of speed we
should be dashed to pieces against one of the
At four bells the velocity of the hurricane was
so great that one was in danger of being blown
off the schooner. We rigged life-lines on the fore
and main decks, also on the poop deck, and by
their help the crew managed to keep from being
washed or blown overboard. The sea looked like
an immense waterfall, one enormous roaring
mass of foam. Occasionally from out of this ter-
rible cataract a Himalayan sea would gain in
momentum and dash itself against our starboard
quarter, submerging the vessel. At such times
all that would be identifiable of the " Wampa "
would be her rocking spiral masts.
Like a struggling giant she would raise her
noble head and shake herself clear of this octopus,
shivering, but never spent.
About noon the hurricane jumped suddenly
from the northeast to east southeast, with-
THE HUERICANB 225
out losing any of its velocity. In order to keep
running before it, and keep the wind on our star-
board quarter we hauled more to the northward
and westward, although to do this it was neces-
sary to drive into a beam sea, which made it all
the more dangerous. Also the sea was driving
from the east southeast and this formed a cross
When these two seas came together, the
"Wampa^^ would rise and poise on the'm as if
on a pivot. In this position, and with the gale
blowing on the starboard quarter, her head would
be thrown into the beam sea. It looked as if
we could not survive. There was constant dan-
ger of our being broken up into small pieces. We
dropped the peak of the spanker that formed the
goose-wing sail, put it into gaskets, and ran
with a three-reefed foresail.
We then put the oil-bags over the stem in the
hope of quieting these angry seas. But this was
useless. While we were fastening the lines that
held the oil-bags in the water, a crushing comber
came whistling along and filled our stanch little
ship again from stem to stern. When she shook
herself clear of the boiling foam I noticed that
226 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
our oil-bags were gone^ and with them the Cap-
tain's boat which hung from davits over the
Old Charlie and Dago Joe were steering. Old
Charlie had a faraway look in his watery eyes as
he spoke and said:
'^ I am af raidy sir^ this will be my last trick at
I spoke harshly to this old sailor^ saying^ ^^ To
Hell with sentiment, this is no place for it.
Watch your steering and don't feel sorry for
yourself." Had I known what was so soon to
happen I should not have so upbraided this poor
harmless old soul. I have often regretted it.
Riley, who was taking no chances, was seem-
ingly not all handicapped by his one eye.
Always alert and as agile as a tiger, he went
about the decks as if nothing were out of the
ordinary, although to hear him talking to him-
self one would think that he expected to be extin-
guished by every sea that came. He had about
twenty feet of manila rope tied about his waist
with the end held in his hand. When a sea
would hit us Eiley would see it coming, and
would pass the rope end around a belaying-pin
THE HURRICANE 227
or anything that he thought would hold his
It was while she cleared herself from the sea
that carried away the Captain's boat that I found
Riley twisted around the spanker sheet like an
eel. It took him some time to extricate himself,
always watching the progress of the stem sea,
and not seeming to notice his number ten bro*
gans, which had woven themselves into the
spanker-sheet falls. The hurricane was raising
havoc with Riley's mustache. Having blown
all over his face, it looked as if the only way to
quiet it would be to put it into a plaster of Paris
cast. He finally pulled himself clear of the
" Be Hivins, and wasn't that a close call — ''
Just then Swanson came running aft and
reported that the martingale guy had carried
away on the flying-jibboom. It was then that
my heart sank within me. I knew what to
expect. Dismantled, — then to perish at sea !
The Master Betijbns
The thought of our dead captain came to me,
of what his will would have been in this crisis
of life and death, and I paused to wonder why he
had not rested until he was assured that I would
not carry his precious treasures back with me.
Bid he expect this situation, and doubt my abil-
ity to cope with it? Action followed thought,
and I ordered the second mate and the crew for-
ward to see what could be done with the martin-
Still the humor of the moment appealed to me.
As Riley left the poop he shouted, " Be the Holy
St. Patrick, it has blown the buttons off me oil-
skin coat.'' There was no question about its
blowing, but it was also possible that his snake-
like position on the spanker-sheet had something
to do with the lost buttons.
It was now past noon. None of the crew cared
to eat, preferring the wave-swept deck to any-
THE MASTER RETURNS 229
thing the cook had to offer. The murderer who
pays for his crime on the gallows and enjoys his
ham and eggs on the morn of execution may be
happy indeed, but this does not apply to the
sailor. When there is a life and death battle
on with the elements, he is there to grab the one
last chance if there be one. If not, he prefers
a watery grave to claim him with his stomach
The seas kept coming larger, and every time
one would break and spend itself on the decks
I thought it would be the last, and that she
could not arise. But she shook herself clear as
she climbed the waves; then again the sea, and
again the dread.
I could not leave the poop nor the two men
at the wheel. A wrong turn at this howling,
raging time, would mean quick despatch to the
land of no awakening. Sometimes even the
helmsmen grew afraid, but a word of encourage-
ment sufficed to quiet them.
While I was standing to windward of the men
at the wheel, watching her every move as she
was pitched hither and thither on this crazy
spiral sea, she shipped a green sea that shook
230 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
her from stem to stern. It was with great diffi-
culty that she raised her black hull to the raging
storm again. I shouted to the men at the wheel.
It was too late. She had broached to with the
stem sea on the beam^. and the beam sea right
Then the beam sea submerged her, and by it I
was carried across the poop deck, and found
myself held under the wheel-box, with both legs
pinned in a vise-like grip by the tiller, which
extended forward of the rudder-head. Although
dazed and strangled by the terrible impact of the
water, I managed to twist the upper part of my
body towards the wheel and to murmur, "For
God's sake keep her oflf.^'
My weakened voice was lost in the tempest.
There were no ears to hear my pleadings. The
men at the wheel were gone. Gone, indeed, to a
watery grave, and perhaps the others also.
With me it would not take long. Just another
raking like the last one, and then the finish.
Again the cook's words echoed louder than the
raging storm, " Do we finish here? ^^
As I lay there pinned to the deck, too helpless
THE MASTER RETURNS 231
to even call aloud^ and as it seemed waiting,
waiting, for the executioner to spring the deadly
trap, I was conscious that the door of the com-
panion-way had closed with a bang so terrific
that it sounded above the storm. I twisted my
head and shoulders around to see if I dared to
hope. There before me stood the Hindoo stow-
away. He did not notice me lying there pinned
under the wheel-box, nor could I manage to
attract his attention.
With opal eyes glowing green and fiery red,
he sprang to the wheel, and with magnificent
strength pulled on the spokes till they screeched
louder than the storm as they were dislodged
from their oxidized fittings. Harder and harder
he pulled on the wheel. He didn't even notice
the seas breaking over him. The mysterious
thing about him was that he seemed to know what
he was doing. He was keeping her off before it.
In doing this he removed the tiller from my
legs. At last I was free. As I struggled and
crawled to the weather-rail for support, the
Hindoo shouted in clear and ringing tones, in
true seamanlike fashion, looking neither to the
232 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
right nor left^ but straight ahead^ as if staring
into a land-locked harbor. He repeated his order
for the second time in a high tenor voice :
" Get an axe out of the donkey-room and cut
away the lee martingale guy. Your flying-jib-
boom is gone overboard and is still held by the
lee guy. It is plowing a hole in the port bow."
I knew but one law. The law of self-preserva-
tion. My arms were locked tight around the
stanchion that supported the weather-rail. That
quick command of the Hindoo brought me sharply
to the realization that I was not yet given that
quick despatch to the land of nowhere, but was
still in the flesh, and very much alive. My first
rational thought was, "What in Hell is the
Hindoo doing at the wheel?" My pride as a
sailor resented the aflfront put upon my ability
as a sailor by a stowaway who was daring to
assume the command of my ship, and daring to
issue orders to me.
Letting go my hold on the stanchion, I cau-
tiously made for the Hindoo helmsman. While
in the act, she shipped another drencher. I was
carried oflf my feet and washed away to the lee
scuppers. But I managed, by some interposition
THE MASTER RETURNS 233
of Divine Providence, to fasten my arms around
the mooring-bitt, thus saving myself from an
angry and cruel sea, which seemed to delight in
playing with me as a cat does with a mouse, only
to swallow me up in its fathomless depths.
•Once again she wrenched herself free of the
mad swirl and her stem went down until we
were in a valley between mountains of water.
I realized as I looked up at the bows which
seemed to be towering above me, that the flying-
jibboom, like a clipped wing, was missing. Like
a flash I wondered how the Hindoo knew that the
jibboom was gone.
As her stern ascended high into the air, I
jumped for the wheel and with an exclamation of
joy I shouted, " God in Heaven, the Captain ! ^'
There he stood beside the Hindoo. The dead
Captain. The same heavy mustache covered
the lower lip. The same fiery eyes that knew no
defeat. He was looking straight ahead with
muscle-set jaws. He appeared as if in the flesh
and ready as of yore to battle with the elements.
Then, like a flash, he vanished, and the Hindoo
stood alone, pulling and tugging on the wheel
with his supple arms.
234 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
He gpoke^ and his usually high-pitched tenor
voice rang out piercingly clear. "Cut away
your jibboom^ you have no time to lose. Haye
I knew that her former Captain was in com-
mand of the shipy and that his masterly seaman-
ship wrought through the Hindoo. I crept for-
ward with new courage to do his bidding.
Huddled together beneath the forecastle-head
stood what remained of the crew, who seemed not
to know that two of their number were gone.
The second mate was praying, and helpless from
fear to be of any use in handling the schooner.
Riley had his three-inch sailor's rope fast to the
windlass with one extra turn around his body.
He was taking no chances. Swanson was the
only one without fear. When I called for a
volunteer to cut away the flying jibboom he made
for the axe and rushed onto the sea-swept fore-
castle-head. As the schooner arose high in the
air, he swung over the lee bow and with one
stroke of the axe cut away the hemp lanyard that
was holding the massive spar from its freedom.
For five hours more we battled with the hurri-
cane. The foretopmast went overboard, and all
THE MASTER RETURNS 235
our boats were smashed into firewood. The lee
bulwarks, between the mizzen and mainmast^
were washed away, and still the Hindoo held the
wheel and issued his orders. Many times I
offered to take the wheel, and ordered him to go
below. He would wave me away with his hand,
" Not yet, — soon, soon."
About six o'clock, twelve hours and a half
after the hurricane struck us, the wind let up
some. We then went to work with a will to
patch up what was left of the "Wampa," and
for the first time since half -past five o'clock that
morning, we realized how hungry we were. It
was while giving orders to the cook that I looked
towards the wheel and saw that the Hindoo was
Calling Swanson to take the wheel as I ran,
I rushed to find him. There by the wheel he
lay, where he had fallen, limp as a rag, — uncon-
scious. Gathering him easily into my arms, I
carried him to the Captain's room, laying him in
the bunk as carefully as if he were a babe new-
born. For two hours we worked over him, the
crew unchidden tiptoeing back and forth in
236 THE PLYING BO 'SUN
clumsy ministrations, the Socialist cook refusing
to leave him. As he finally came back to earth
from those astral regions he so easily frequented,
a sigh of relief, almost hysterical, went up from
the whole ship. Surely there had been enough
of tragedy !
Along about eight o'clock the wind fell very
light. As there was still a heavy swell running,
it would be dangerous to put sail on her for she
would shake it into threads.
While walking up and down the poop deck I
jcould hear Riley and the cook working over the
stowaway. My thoughts turned to old Charlie
and to Dago Joe, who were sleeping their
last sleep out there at sea. Had it not been
for Him, for Him who had loved his ship, we
would all have shared the same merciless fate.
What might have happened had I followed my
^rst impulse to cast the Hindoo overboard?
The cook came running up the companion-way
very much excited, and said " Come down quick,
the Hindoo is showing signs of life." In the
Captain^s room, under the sickly and only lamp,
the frail body was moving from side to side,
sometimes making a feeble effort to sit up, often
THE MASTER RETURNS 237
swinging his arms as if to ward off some impend-
ing danger. Then he asked for a drink of water
and gradually became rational.
When I told him what a wonderful service he
had performed, he smiled and said, " Surely you
can't mean me." I insisted, telling him in detail
how, when two men had been washed overboard,
he had seized the wheel and saved the ship.
" You must be mistaken," he protested, " I have
not been on deck, and I cannot steer, I know
nothing whatever about a ship as a sailor. But
I have just awakened from a dream that was
worse than your Christian Hell."
The Homb Port
"The wind is from the south-southeast sir,"
sang out Swanson from the wheel. Riley gave
voice to my impulse when he said, " Thank God,
it is the southeast trades again, sir/^
The days that followed brought us fine weather
and a gentle breeze. We were fortunate enough
to escape the doldrums. The southeast trades
carried us into the northeast trade winds. In
latitude 30° north we struck the westerly winds
that blow fair for the Pacific coast of the U. S. A.
Fifty-six days from Suva we rounded Lime Point,
sailed up Frisco Bay, and dropped the hook off
The owner welcomed me at his office, and was
pleased indeed to know that his favorite schooner
was once again in her home port.
Later, when we were towed alongside the
wharf, the good ship " Wampa ^' was the object
of much speculation among the old hard-shelled
THE HOME PORT 239
water-front men, not so much from her battered
condition, althougli she was minus port bulwarks,
f oretopmast and flying jibboom, as from some air
of mystery which in a conscious way seemed to
emanate from the very hull of her. Veterans of
the deep who were in port loading new cargoes,
would come and go, walking in silence like pall-
Possibly this was due to the appearance of the
Hindoo stowaway, or it may have been that the
occult voyage of the " Wampa ^^ had been aired
in Rooney's Steam Beer Joint which was at the
end of the wharf. Yet with all this hushed
solemnity, I do believe that it was I who most
sincerely mourned our Captain and the two hon-
est, simple sailormen whose lives had been so
unprotestingly given to their duty. Many a voy-
age have I had since then, but at no time have
I ever felt at once so near to Humanity, and to
the Infinite. The Hindoo, who had picked up
and grown fat on the cook's pea-soup and salt-
horse, went to a home which I found for him with
a hotel man, who advanced the entry-fee, and put
him to work as a porter. He saved his money
and, after familiarizing himself with the customs
240 THE FLYING BO 'SUN
and conventions of the Western people, he moved
north to the State of Oregon, where he went into
the real estate business, acquiring, up to eight
years ago, a goodly sum of money.
The Socialist cook exchanged his greasy dun-
garees for a pair of hand-me-down creaseless
serge pants. With these and a much-worn
broadcloth coat that had long withstood gales
from the critics of equal distribution, he entered
once more the harness of Socialism. With him
he took Toby, the black cat, to a life ashore. I
believe, though, that his voyage on the " Wampa "
had changed his materialistic ideas.
Riley swore that he had made his last trip on
windjammers, but that should necessity compel
him to take again to the sea, he would sail in a
gentleman's yacht. There he would be sure of
frequent home ports, each with its black-eyed
Susan reigning supreme, feut conditions were
not as Riley had planned. The steam beer was
as plentiful as ever, but the dinero was running
low, and he had to take the first thing that
ofifered that would reef and steer. Since then I
have met him many times.
Swanson, the most daring and best sailor of the
THE HOME POET 241
"Wampa's" crew, went to a navigation school
in San Francisco. With his second mate's
papers he put ofif on a long Southern voyage, and
after a few years he became captain.
For my services the owner of the " Wampa "
promised me the command of a vessel that was
overdue from South America, and which was
expected any day. After two weeks had passed
without niews from the South American wan-
derer, I headed North. The Yukon was calling
for men of endurance and men of red blood to
come and uncover her hidden treasures.
'. y «